Lack of multichannel audio at CES - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 01-18-2012, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I was very dissappointed this year at CES. I saw over 200 booths of nothing but audio devices (not to mention the over 2300 others I visited!) and not a single one had a multichannel DAC or multichannel streamer. All were USB, SPDIF, or ethernet in and 2 channel analog out. I was hoping to find one that was either 8channel analog out or HDMI out.

The only exception was Dune and they were showing either existing devices or a prototype that doesnt even have a working chipset yet.

Several companies I spoke with claim that mutichannel audio is dead and that is even coming from some that also sell SACD transports! Are we in the minority here? Is multichannel doomed to become available only for movies? Did I miss some devices?
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post #2 of 30 Old 01-18-2012, 05:26 PM
 
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People just are not buying into multi-channel as they expected in the over 20 plus years that manufacturers have been trying to get people to adopt. It is still a niche market as it always has been. The number have not and are not there, so that is why they are trying to go another route, which will still only be adopted by a small niche market.
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post #3 of 30 Old 01-18-2012, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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That seems strange as more and more folks have gone to 5, 7 and 9 channel audio for movies. The speakers and infrastructure is there, why not use it?
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post #4 of 30 Old 01-18-2012, 08:13 PM
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Your average consumer turns on DD PLII or the equivalent and thinks that is good enough. I am hoping for more releases on Blu ray audio. Hi res and plays on hardware most of us have.

My review comparisons of Energy RC-70s to Veritas V6.3
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post #5 of 30 Old 01-18-2012, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

I was very dissappointed this year at CES. I saw over 200 booths of nothing but audio devices (not to mention the over 2300 others I visited!) and not a single one had a multichannel DAC or multichannel streamer. All were USB, SPDIF, or ethernet in and 2 channel analog out. I was hoping to find one that was either 8channel analog out or HDMI out.

The only exception was Dune and they were showing either existing devices or a prototype that doesnt even have a working chipset yet.

Several companies I spoke with claim that mutichannel audio is dead and that is even coming from some that also sell SACD transports! Are we in the minority here? Is multichannel doomed to become available only for movies? Did I miss some devices?

mlknez,

I'm not sure I understand what devices you are looking for. I listen to a fair amount multichannel music (SACD/DVD-A). I am doing fine with my Oppo 83SE and Onkyo 886 for MCH playback. Unfortunately MCH music is not doing well from a software standpoint but it is what it is I guess. I just try to make do with what is offered.

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post #6 of 30 Old 01-18-2012, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

mlknez,

I'm not sure I understand what devices you are looking for. I listen to a fair amount multichannel music (SACD/DVD-A). I am doing fine with my Oppo 83SE and Onkyo 886 for MCH playback. Unfortunately MCH music is not doing well from a software standpoint but it is what it is I guess. I just try to make do with what is offered.

Bill

As I stated above... a quality DAC or streamer with multichannel output
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post #7 of 30 Old 01-18-2012, 09:30 PM
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My experience is that most shows tend to be two-channel centric. Those that I've been to in the past couple of years were virtually 100% two channel in the audio rooms.

I think it's a lot easier to haul a couple of pairs of speakers, a stereo pre, an amp or two, and a player into a hotel room than a full on multichannel system. Plus the rooms generally suck for trying to put a full surround system in place.

Rather than a simple reflection of the state of multichannel systems, I think it reflects the state of electronics exhibitions, which is to say not all that relevant. A lot of dealers try to minimize the damage by taking what they think will show the best in the worst possible circumstances.

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post #8 of 30 Old 01-18-2012, 10:34 PM
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You should have hit the Magnepan room. At least they were running a 3-channel rig, and apparently it sounded amazing. I sent a buddy of mine who had a press credential to check it out. It was his first experience with Magnepans and he was very impressed by it.

But I admit, I'm a 2-channel guy for music. And as of late, becoming a 2-channel headphone guy


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post #9 of 30 Old 01-19-2012, 05:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

That seems strange as more and more folks have gone to 5, 7 and 9 channel audio for movies. The speakers and infrastructure is there, why not use it?

Maybe 1 to 2 percent of the consumers, but not as you are making it sound like it is over 85 percent. There are just reasons why people do not go to multi-channel. A lot see no need or want to go that route.
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post #10 of 30 Old 01-19-2012, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

That seems strange as more and more folks have gone to 5, 7 and 9 channel audio for movies. The speakers and infrastructure is there, why not use it?

Because people don't sit around and listen to music anymore. If seated people must have video with scenes lasting no longer than 5 seconds to pay attention (by 70's standards we're all ADD). Music is strictly background or in-ear (iPod) while preforming an activity.
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post #11 of 30 Old 01-19-2012, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by William View Post


Because people don't sit around and listen to music anymore. If seated people must have video with scenes lasting no longer than 5 seconds to pay attention (by 70's standards we're all ADD). Music is strictly background or in-ear (iPod) while preforming an activity.

Sad but true
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post #12 of 30 Old 01-19-2012, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

As I stated above... a quality DAC or streamer with multichannel output

I guess I should have asked what would the application be for a MCH DAC? In other words how would a MCH DAC be ultilized in ones system (component connections)? Would the Oppo 95 work for your streaming needs? The 95 has quality MCH DACs as well as HDMI outputs. I'm not well versed in Hi-Rez music streaming so maybe the 95 would not be what you are looking for.

Bill


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post #13 of 30 Old 01-19-2012, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

Sad but true

I actually don't think it's that bad, to be honest. I'm totally shocked at how advanced headphones, IEMs, and portable amps have become. I'm only just now starting to dabble a little, because I'm mostly a speaker guy, but I've really enjoyed my new etymotic IEMs and lower end Sennheiser headphones. I'm looking forward to getting more into the higher end of this area. I have really been looking foward to getting home after work and just listening to tunes while I play around online.


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post #14 of 30 Old 01-21-2012, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Summa View Post


I actually don't think it's that bad, to be honest. I'm totally shocked at how advanced headphones, IEMs, and portable amps have become. I'm only just now starting to dabble a little, because I'm mostly a speaker guy, but I've really enjoyed my new etymotic IEMs and lower end Sennheiser headphones. I'm looking forward to getting more into the higher end of this area. I have really been looking foward to getting home after work and just listening to tunes while I play around online.

I think the point was that people don' t listen like they used to, regardless if they use headphones ,or playing through speakers. I actually noticed this very issue on myself, and I have a nice surround set up.
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post #15 of 30 Old 01-22-2012, 10:15 AM
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And the majority of owners who have multi channel systems, have subpar quality speakers to boot anyhow.

I have enjoyed multi channel music and really wish it would come back. Unfortunately, digital music in download format is what is pushing cd's out, including multi channel.

Perhaps in the future, we will get a multi channel music in digital format that will be parserd through hardware.
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post #16 of 30 Old 01-22-2012, 12:04 PM
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It seems you didn't get to the Thiel/Bryston room in the Bassamo 2601 room. I was there demonstrating our AIX surround recordings during the entire show and using a MCH DAC built into the SP3 built by Bryston. As many of you know, I'm a huge advocate for surround and I never fail to come away from our show demonstrations encouraged by the response.

During the show, I routinely play the stereo version of a track and then alternate back and forth to the surround (and I play the aggressive surround mix...the "stage" mix). Virtually everyone in the room is convinced that the surround is "hands down" the better experience.

During on session, a gentlemen a little older than myself disagreed and let everyone know that he was a dedicated 2-channel stereo consumer. I asked if he would kindly change seats and move to the center chair in the front row. I then played a segment from the Mozart Symphony No. 41 "The Jupiter" in both stereo and then in "stage" perspective surround. He flipped out! He was sold and came up to me after the demonstration and expressed his thanks. Unfortunately, most listeners are not so honest about 5.1 in comparison to stereo.

It's not dead. There are some things happening in the headphone circles that will be very interesting to this group. Stay tuned.
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post #17 of 30 Old 01-22-2012, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. AIX View Post

It seems you didn't get to the Thiel/Bryston room in the Bassamo 2601 room. I was there demonstrating our AIX surround recordings during the entire show and using a MCH DAC built into the SP3 built by Bryston. As many of you know, I'm a huge advocate for surround and I never fail to come away from our show demonstrations encouraged by the response.

During the show, I routinely play the stereo version of a track and then alternate back and forth to the surround (and I play the aggressive surround mix...the "stage" mix). Virtually everyone in the room is convinced that the surround is "hands down" the better experience.

During on session, a gentlemen a little older than myself disagreed and let everyone know that he was a dedicated 2-channel stereo consumer. I asked if he would kindly change seats and move to the center chair in the front row. I then played a segment from the Mozart Symphony No. 41 "The Jupiter" in both stereo and then in "stage" perspective surround. He flipped out! He was sold and came up to me after the demonstration and expressed his thanks. Unfortunately, most listeners are not so honest about 5.1 in comparison to stereo.

It's not dead. There are some things happening in the headphone circles that will be very interesting to this group. Stay tuned.

Well it's encouraging news, thanks for sharing
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post #18 of 30 Old 01-22-2012, 02:39 PM
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The interview is on youtube and it discusses the future of MC and the fact many people are getting to it via blue ray and more people buying avr's.
It would be great if it finally took off through blue ray. I see more and more music in BD on amazon too, so evidently some are catching on??
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post #19 of 30 Old 01-22-2012, 04:05 PM
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I've been looking for that interview on Youtube but I can't find it........I found it.

If a movie or concert video or a TV show isn't on blu ray it darn well should be.

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post #20 of 30 Old 01-27-2012, 03:21 PM
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Dear Dr. Aix. If you issued some of your multi-channel disks in the hybrid SACD format I could listen to them in my car (I have a great system) and at home. I just find SACD far more convenient on my systems.
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post #21 of 30 Old 01-27-2012, 04:24 PM
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I wasn't aware that there were too many SACD players in automobiles. There were a lot of models with DVD-Audio head units. I created or supplied a number of tracks to Acura, Cadillac, Porsche and others.

I'm not a fan of DSD encoding, however...too much compromise of the ultra sonics. The future is HD surround as downloads...at home and in the car. Maybe event using headphones.

Some pretty exciting stuff coming along...stay tuned.
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post #22 of 30 Old 01-27-2012, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. AIX View Post

It seems you didn't get to the Thiel/Bryston room in the Bassamo 2601 room. I was there demonstrating our AIX surround recordings during the entire show and using a MCH DAC built into the SP3 built by Bryston. ...

I did get to that room and even met you and told you about the AVS party. I did listen to the demos and enjoyed them. I was speaking specifically about a stand-alone dac. There were a few preamp/processors that would do multichannel audio, but no stand-alone units.
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post #23 of 30 Old 01-29-2012, 03:59 AM
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I wasn't aware that there were too many SACD players in automobiles...

I believe he means he could listen to the hybrid CD layer in his car since there are no SA-CD OEM (or after market that I have seen) car players.

Although the CD is about to go the way of the cassette in future model cars.
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post #24 of 30 Old 01-29-2012, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post


I believe he means he could listen to the hybrid CD layer in his car since there are no SA-CD OEM (or after market that I have seen) car players.

Although the CD is about to go the way of the cassette in future model cars.

While your conclusion is quite likely correct, I have seen at least one MCH SACD car audio player, though I doubt it remains in production.
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post #25 of 30 Old 02-01-2012, 06:41 AM
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In 3 of my current cars I have installed Sony MEX-DV2020's. These car radios play multi-channel SACD's, DTS, and Dolby Digital. They also play conventional stereo CD's. It contains very good electronics and lots of power and truly functional multi-band EQ adjustments. It will also play video DVD's!

Sony has sold lots of these and the previous MEX-DV2000. But it is sad to report that only DVD-A has made it into some OEM car radio systems.

I can pop in the multi-channel SACD of Gaucho, crank up the volume, and drive down the road with a huge smile on my face.

I will also play the DTS or DD multi-channel tracks on a DVD-Audio disk, but since most will not play with the mere insertion of the disk into the player, (I must click and click around on menu settings I cannot see (in a car without a video monitor) it is a huge distraction, and it does not always work.

My argument is not with the quality of DVD-Audio's sound but with the very poor and inconsistant way in which the audio is written on each disk. There is no standard; gerrrrrrrrr!

But the fact that DVD-A disks may offer higher levels of audio above 20,000 cps is of no interest to me. The fact that I will and have purchased tons of hybrid multi-channel SACD's is because they sound great to me AND I can play them with ease in any hardware I own.

I would purchase many more AIX recordings if they were offered as hybrid SACD's; that is a fact!
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post #26 of 30 Old 02-01-2012, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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In 3 of my current cars I have installed Sony MEX-DV2020's. These car radios play multi-channel SACD's, DTS, and Dolby Digital. They also play conventional stereo CD's. It contains very good electronics and lots of power and truly functional multi-band EQ adjustments. It will also play video DVD's!

Sony has sold lots of these and the previous MEX-DV2000. But it is sad to report that only DVD-A has made it into some OEM car radio systems.

I can pop in the multi-channel SACD of Gaucho, crank up the volume, and drive down the road with a huge smile on my face.

I will also play the DTS or DD multi-channel tracks on a DVD-Audio disk, but since most will not play with the mere insertion of the disk into the player, (I must click and click around on menu settings I cannot see (in a car without a video monitor) it is a huge distraction, and it does not always work.

My argument is not with the quality of DVD-Audio's sound but with the very poor and inconsistant way in which the audio is written on each disk. There is no standard; gerrrrrrrrr!

But the fact that DVD-A disks may offer higher levels of audio above 20,000 cps is of no interest to me. The fact that I will and have purchased tons of hybrid multi-channel SACD's is because they sound great to me AND I can play them with ease in any hardware I own.

I would purchase many more AIX recordings if they were offered as hybrid SACD's; that is a fact!

Easy solution... buy them at itrax and burn them into whatever media you desire! Now, don't go back on your word and buy some stuff!!!
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post #27 of 30 Old 02-02-2012, 03:58 AM
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Easy solution... buy them at itrax and burn them into whatever media you desire! Now, don't go back on your word and buy some stuff!!!

How is he going to burn a SA-CD since that is what he desires?
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post #28 of 30 Old 02-02-2012, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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How is he going to burn a SA-CD since that is what he desires?

Superauthor, SACD Creator, etc. if you really wanted an SACD, but you could just burn the wav files to a shiny silver disc and most modern players will play that if he REALLY wants to use a physical transport... so 90s.
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post #29 of 30 Old 02-02-2012, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. AIX View Post

It seems you didn't get to the Thiel/Bryston room in the Bassamo 2601 room. I was there demonstrating our AIX surround recordings during the entire show and using a MCH DAC built into the SP3 built by Bryston. As many of you know, I'm a huge advocate for surround and I never fail to come away from our show demonstrations encouraged by the response.

Heard both your demo and the 3-channel Maggie set-up referred to above. Came away wowed by both and with my commitment to MCH music reconfirmed. Interesting that both rooms were using Bryston pre's - AIX the new SP3 and Maggie an older SP2...

John

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post #30 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 01:36 PM
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The currently available multi-channel car unit from Sony is the MEX-DV2200. Out of production, but still available for about $175.00. I doubt Sony has plans to offer a replacement unit. Sure would be nice to have one available that offered HD Radio, SACD and DVD-A and hard drive storage; dream on.
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