Ayre DX-5 bluray player - Page 12 - AVS Forum
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post #331 of 1445 Old 01-28-2010, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

The demo with Steve will be a blast -- bring your favorite disc and have fun!

It's very simple -- just buy two DX-5's -- one for each room!

The QB-9 is very competitive with the C-5xe MP sound-wise, so the only thing that you'd be giving up there is the ability to play SACD's. (See, you really do need that DX-5!) It's not the QB-9 that is the limitation, it is the fact that Sony promised the music companies that computer ROM drives would never be able to play SACD's.

Amarra does sound better than iTunes, plus it also offers automatic sample-rate switching (which is a weak spot for Mac's). Currently we are looking at the possibility of another solution that would be less expensive. Stay tuned....

Not to derail this but I was dong some testing with an ILink driver for Windows\\Winamp years ago. The creator had some DSD/DXD files and could play them back, I have the same software but dont now how to rip SACD layers, dont know how he got the DSD files.........

Will the clock synch work with DSD over HDMI? (Was trying to get Bryston to add clock synch support to their upcoming SP3, they said no )

Interesting to see Sony supporting SACD somewhat again, still alive even if not quite kicking.
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post #332 of 1445 Old 01-28-2010, 11:45 AM
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Not sure what you are trying to do. If you want to play SACD's, the Oppo or the Ayre DX-5 will do so with both analog audio outputs and HDMI digital outputs.

If you want to store SACD's on your computer, you are SOL. Sony signed a pact with all of the hardware and music software companies to ensure that SACD music data could never end up on a computer.

You can buy professional tools for $5,000 or $10,000 that will let you extract the "DSD" data off the disc. The question is what can you do with it at that point?

Sony has recently announced a format called "DSD Disc" that is like SACD but without the copy protection. There are a few machines that will play this format, but not many and none of them sound very good. I think a PlayStation 3 will play them, as well as all of the newest generation of Sony DVD and/or Blu-Ray players. But in typical Sony fashion, they don't tell you about it. You have to create a disc and then try it on the players and see if if works.

You could store the data on a computer, but I don't know of any way to get it off and play it again. If there were enough demand, we could create a protocol to send the "DSD" data over the USB bus to an external DAC. (The DAC chip in both the DX-5 and the QB-9 can decode "DSD" data.) But we are not going to spend two months working out all of the details of creating a new transfer protocol for 2 titles and 7 customers.

If there are 100 titles available for download or something real like that, we can and will support it.
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post #333 of 1445 Old 01-28-2010, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Not sure what you are trying to do. If you want to play SACD's, the Oppo or the Ayre DX-5 will do so with both analog audio outputs and HDMI digital outputs.

If you want to store SACD's on your computer, you are SOL. Sony signed a pact with all of the hardware and music software companies to ensure that SACD music data could never end up on a computer.

You can buy professional tools for $5,000 or $10,000 that will let you extract the "DSD" data off the disc. The question is what can you do with it at that point?

Sony has recently announced a format called "DSD Disc" that is like SACD but without the copy protection. There are a few machines that will play this format, but not many and none of them sound very good. I think a PlayStation 3 will play them, as well as all of the newest generation of Sony DVD and/or Blu-Ray players. But in typical Sony fashion, they don't tell you about it. You have to create a disc and then try it on the players and see if if works.

You could store the data on a computer, but I don't know of any way to get it off and play it again. If there were enough demand, we could create a protocol to send the "DSD" data over the USB bus to an external DAC. (The DAC chip in both the DX-5 and the QB-9 can decode "DSD" data.) But we are not going to spend two months working out all of the details of creating a new transfer protocol for 2 titles and 7 customers.

If there are 100 titles available for download or something real like that, we can and will support it.

Was talking about storage and playback of DSD from a PC. I have software that can playback the pure DSD over Firewire/Ilink but as I mentioned I cannot find any way to extract the DSD from SACDs. Do these professional extraction tools have a name?

Maybe Oppo will enable the playback of DSD over DLNA although I have to admit at this point I agree with Oppo's experimental status for DLNA. Could be really interesting for DX-5 users, you would essentially have a top notch audio/video streaminng device as well as an excellent disc spinner.

One other thing, just had a look at the computer audio guide on your site, really good info but I noticed no mention of Kernel Streaming, only ASIO.

For those wondering about the QB-9:
http://www.ayre.com/products_detail....18&field=specs
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post #334 of 1445 Old 01-29-2010, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krobar View Post

Was talking about storage and playback of DSD from a PC. I have software that can playback the pure DSD over Firewire/Ilink but as I mentioned I cannot find any way to extract the DSD from SACDs. Do these professional extraction tools have a name?[/url]

Sony screwed the pooch with this one. It is possible, but hardly worth it. It will come out to several hundred dollars per disc to do this. For more information read this post:

http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.mpl?...hirez&n=251842

This was written by Bruce B (I forget his last name, but he does all of the high-resolution transfers for the Chesky brothers at HDTracks.com. If you click on the "P" to the right of his name (meaning "Professional"), it will give you a way to contact him and ask him about the equipment you need.

When we made the C-5xe we thought about including a circuit to convert the "DSD" to 176.4/24 PCM at the AES/EBU output, but the FPGA we were using didn't have enough horsepower. We may offer that in a future product.

As I noted before, the QB-9 is capable of playing "DSD" files if you could ever figure out a way to put them on your hard drive. There is talk of some labels releasing unencrypted DSD files called "DSD Discs":

http://www.ps3sacd.com/dsddiscguide.html

We're not going to do the work for 4 titles, but if there ever gets to be 100 or more titles, we will figure out a way to transfer the "DSD" data to the QB-9 without converting it to PCM.

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Originally Posted by Krobar View Post

Maybe Oppo will enable the playback of DSD over DLNA although I have to admit at this point I agree with Oppo's experimental status for DLNA. Could be really interesting for DX-5 users, you would essentially have a top notch audio/video streaminng device as well as an excellent disc spinner.

The DLNA is officially "experimental" status at the moment. The Ayre firmware is like the latest Oppo firmware release, but without the DLNA and the BluTV (also "experimental"). When they get the bugs worked out, we will include those features in our firmware also.

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One other thing, just had a look at the computer audio guide on your site, really good info but I noticed no mention of Kernel Streaming, only ASIO.[/url]

The ASIO4ALL.dll looks like an ASIO driver to the OS, but actually uses kernel streaming to bypass the K-Mixer in Windows. If you use Foobar, it has a kernel streaming plug-in, but it only seems to work in Vista (and presumably W7) and not in XP.
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post #335 of 1445 Old 01-30-2010, 03:41 PM
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Hi Charles,
Is there any chance of getting an SDI output on the DX5? I have a C5, P5 And the
Oppo BD83 but I'M not satisfied with the HDMI Source Select to my Lumagen scaler. The SDI would of course be for DVD playback. Thanks.
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post #336 of 1445 Old 01-31-2010, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by crtguy View Post

Is there any chance of getting an SDI output on the DX5? I have a C5, P5 And the Oppo BD83 but I'M not satisfied with the HDMI Source Select to my Lumagen scaler.

No, there is no easy way to add SDI to that platform. It would be possibleto remove the HDMI transmitter chip and replace it with an HD-SDI chip, but it would be a lot of work and I doubt that we would sell more than a handful.

The ABT scaler chip in the player is outstanding. You really want to send it directly to your display if possible. Most modern displays have multiple HDMI inputs. They also have built-in scalers that range from reasonably good to outstanding. Certainly good enough for the compressed signals sent by most satellite and/or cable services. You may not really need a scaler (depending on the display you are using.)

Judging by your posting name, you have an older CRT display. These are awesome, although they need periodic re-calibration. We're not sure what the demand is for this kind of thing, but it is possible that we would build a scaler down the road. The idea I have is that the basic model would have HDMI outputs (an isolated one for the audio) and an optional analog output. This would probably just about double the cost of the scaler, but we could make a crazy-good analog video stage. I just don't know if there is enough customer demand to justify the design work involved.
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post #337 of 1445 Old 01-31-2010, 04:55 PM
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Legal DSD dff and DXD downloads:
http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html

Interesting discussion and source code on DSD to PCM conversion:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...ic=37717&st=75
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post #338 of 1445 Old 01-31-2010, 05:14 PM
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No, there is no easy way to add SDI to that platform. It would be possible to remove the HDMI transmitter chip and replace it with an HD-SDI chip, but it would be a lot of work and I doubt that we would sell more than a handful.

JVB Digital does offer an HD-SDI mod to the BDP-83.

http://www.jvbdigital.nl/jvb.asp?cur...itle&title=712

I'd think the only advantage would be to avoid HDCP unless you have an HD-SDI input on the pj.
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post #339 of 1445 Old 02-01-2010, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Krobar View Post

Interesting discussion and source code on DSD to PCM conversion:

Well, if we wanted to fit a PC motherboard running Windows inside the player, this could work....

Seriously, you have to remember two things:

a) "DSD" is NOT a technical term. It is a marketing term. The only thing that it means is whatever Sony wants it to mean on a particular day.

The only reason it exists is because the CD patents were expiring, and with them a $1 billion per year royalty stream. They were desperate to come up with something that they could patent and license. Hence we have "DSD" or "Direct Stream Digital".

Technically, this is nothing new at all. Thirty years ago, audio A/D converters were all Successive-Approximation Register (SAR) types that required a sample-and-hold circuit. These are crude at best and can only work well with non-existent theoretically perfect FET switches and capacitors.

Then putting more and more computational power onto silicon chips got cheaper and cheaper, so everyone moved to sigma-delta converters. These oversample at a very high rate and then require downsampling (digital low-pass filters) to turn the signal into the familiar PCM (Pulse Code Modulation). So-called "DSD" is nothing more than the raw output of a sigma-delta A/D converter without running it through a low-pass filter.

But the marketing hype they created painted them into a corner. They claimed that the reason "DSD" sounded good was because it was a one-bit system, and therefore had ZERO linearity errors. Now it is true that one-bit systems have perfect linearity, but this is NOT the reason that "DSD" sounds good. The reason that it sounds good is because it doesn't require a low-pass filter on the record side, and only requires a comparatively gentle low-pass filter on the playback side.

The problem is that you cannot do anything to a "DSD" signal without turning into PCM! No level changes, no mixing, no EQ, no compression, no limiting, no nothing. The end result is that the only way to make a disc that doesn't use PCM at some point is to do all of the mixing and EQ in the analog domain. That means that you either:

a) Record live in the studio, straight to a "DSD" recorder, with all mixing, EQ, compression, and limiting done in the analog mixing console. This is clearly impractical and has been done literally only a handful of times.

b) Record to analog tape in the normal old-fashioned way, mix, EQ, compress, and limit with analog tools down to another analog tape copy, and then transfer this analog tape to a "DSD" format. This is basically a way to re-release old analog recordings, but no new recordings are ever made in this way.

So the whole "DSD" thing is basically a fraud. Every SACD turns the music into the "dreaded" PCM format at some point during the production process. It would have been much easier and better if they had just used high sample-rate PCM to start with.

The link you posted was to a software program that would low-pass filter the "DSD" signal in two stages down to 88.2 kHz PCM. As I said in a previous post, that is not the problem. There are chips made to do this such as this:

http://www.npcamerica.com/pdf/SM5819.pdf

or we could make our own (improved) filters using FPGA's. I'm not really sure what the point would be, because now you have discarded "DSD"'s mythical superiority by turning it into plain old PCM... But the problem is how do you get the signal from the SACD disc into your computer? There is no easy way as no computer ROM drive can read an SACD disc.

With the DX-5, you can connect your computer to the USB audio input and play 99.9% of all your music that way. And when you want to listen to the 17 SACD's you own, you can just stick them in the tray and play them.
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post #340 of 1445 Old 02-01-2010, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

JVB Digital does offer an HD-SDI mod to the BDP-83.

Yes, as I said, it would be possible to do this. But look at what is involved. They charge $800 for the mod. You can see the picture of the PCB they use. There are only two chips. The first is probably an FPGA to reformat the signal and the second is the HD-SDI transmitter chip that serializes the parallel data being fed to the PCB.

That means that there is about $100 of cost in the PCB. The other $700 is the labor required to connect those twenty or thirty input lines to spots on the circuit board that were never intended to have extra wires connected to them.

We know how to do this. We were the first company to offer an SDI output on a production DVD player. HD-SDI is no different except that the speeds are much higher, so the parts are more expensive and you must be more careful with the installation to ensure proper signal integrity.

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I'd think the only advantage would be to avoid HDCP unless you have an HD-SDI input on the pj.

Again, what is the point? If the poster wanted to use an external scaler, he may as well just buy the stock Oppo and save $9,000. There is no scaler on the market that will do justice to the video signal that the DX-5 can deliver.

On the other hand, if there were sufficient demand we could build a killer scaler that had unbelievable video D/A conversion performance, just as our audio D/A converters have unparalleled performance. We did this in the old days with our DVD players, it's just that they were built into the player. In this day and age, all the video sources are digital (except for VHS!) so it would make much more sense to have this killer video D/A converter in an external box with multiple inputs and scaling capabilities for SD signals.

Personally, I would love to do this as we have a very nice CRT projector mounted on the ceiling of our sound room. But we can't spend six months of design time on a product if we are only going to sell 12 of them. So first we will build the DX-5. Then if there is sufficient demand (at least a couple of hundred units world-wide), then we will build an external scaler for the CRT owners.
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post #341 of 1445 Old 02-01-2010, 10:09 AM
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CRT!

I know the black detail is great on the CRT right? My goodness Charles I thought I was old. You really should try and catch up with what's happening on the audio/video side these days. Digital isn't a bad word anymore. If anyone should know it would be you? It's okay to have a digital projector using HDMI into a multichannel system in this day and age! Some of them do look and sound rather good Charles. You stated that you still watch and listen to movies thru 2 channel playback only? How does the unit sound watching and listening to movies using the multi channel playback capability of the DX-5. I'd like to know how it directly compares to the Oppo playing back a DTS MA or Dolby Digital Blu Ray. I've read nothing but adding and modding it for 2 channel. Just for the record there's no way I'd ever go back to a humongous CRT projector, but that's just me.
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post #342 of 1445 Old 02-01-2010, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

The problem is that you cannot do anything to a "DSD" signal without turning into PCM! No level changes, no mixing, no EQ, no compression, no limiting, no nothing. The end result is that the only way to make a disc that doesn't use PCM at some point is to do all of the mixing and EQ in the analog domain. That means that you either:

a) Record live in the studio, straight to a "DSD" recorder, with all mixing, EQ, compression, and limiting done in the analog mixing console. This is clearly impractical and has been done literally only a handful of times.

b) Record to analog tape in the normal old-fashioned way, mix, EQ, compress, and limit with analog tools down to another analog tape copy, and then transfer this analog tape to a "DSD" format. This is basically a way to re-release old analog recordings, but no new recordings are ever made in this way.

So the whole "DSD" thing is basically a fraud. Every SACD turns the music into the "dreaded" PCM format at some point during the production process. It would have been much easier and better if they had just used high sample-rate PCM to start with.

The link you posted was to a software program that would low-pass filter the "DSD" signal in two stages down to 88.2 kHz PCM. As I said in a previous post, that is not the problem. There are chips made to do this such as this:

http://www.npcamerica.com/pdf/SM5819.pdf

or we could make our own (improved) filters using FPGA's. I'm not really sure what the point would be, because now you have discarded "DSD"'s mythical superiority by turning it into plain old PCM... But the problem is how do you get the signal from the SACD disc into your computer? There is no easy way as no computer ROM drive can read an SACD disc.

With the DX-5, you can connect your computer to the USB audio input and play 99.9% of all your music that way. And when you want to listen to the 17 SACD's you own, you can just stick them in the tray and play them.

Hi Charles,

Thanks for taking the time to explain this. Sorry for taking this thread OT.
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post #343 of 1445 Old 02-03-2010, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Sharp1080 View Post

CRT!

Sorry, I lost the reply in computer crash...

CRT's have a lot of advantages. I was really disappointed when Canon scrapped their SED technology because it couldn't compete with LCD on price. We bought a Sharp Aquos LCD when they first came out. We hooked it up and I was horrified. We instantly put it back into the box and got a refund. A few years ago I helped hook up a friend's Sony Bravia when they first switched from plasma to LCD. It wasn't quite as awful as the Aquos, but it was pretty wretched. I certainly wouldn't own the thing.

For about five years all of the magazines kept saying, "Finally, now we finally have a flat panel or projector that has black levels as good as CRT!". Then two months later they would say the same thing again. And again, and again, and again.

It got to be rather boring reading about the display that "No, really, this time it has great black levels!" The display companies were playing games with adjustable irises and figuring out ways to cheat the contrast tests. But the pictures still sucked compared to CRT. We have a 30" 16x9 Panasonic studio mastering monitor that literally cost $40,000 new. I know what a good picture looks like, and these things weren't even close.

Finally, we broke down and bought one of the 7th-generation Pioneer Elite Kuro sets. It has a pretty good picture -- but it's so expensive that they couldn't sell enough to keep the factory open. 99% of all people buy on two numbers -- size and price. "I got a 60" flatscreen at WalMart for $699!!" They don't care about anything else. But I did know of a few people who bought things like that and then returned them because they didn't look as good as their old $500 CRT set...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp1080 View Post

How does the unit sound watching and listening to movies using the multi channel playback capability of the DX-5. I'd like to know how it directly compares to the Oppo playing back a DTS MA or Dolby Digital Blu Ray.

We've done a lot to improve the multi-channel audio quality as well. Most of it has been detailed in this post:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post17984547

As to how much of an improvement all this will make, we will have to wait and see (actually listen). We haven't finished writing the firmware and actually tested this feature. But it should be noticeably better than the stock Oppo. Whether that is worth an additional $9500 is only something that you can determine...
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post #344 of 1445 Old 02-05-2010, 02:34 PM
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Thanks to the responders to my querry about the SDI mod. I have a Sony And Denon DVD player modified by JVB Digital. The picture on DVD playback is noticeably sharper and cleaner than the HDMI out via Source Select on the Oppo. The signal is routed through a Lumagen VisionPro HDP to a custom modified 9" Marquis CRT. The picture on Bluray and DVD is superb. I have a large collection of DVDs that I still watch. Being impressed with my Ayre C-5xe I would be interested in consolidating all into one source component-hence the basis for my question to Charles. Thanks to all for your response(s).
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post #345 of 1445 Old 02-05-2010, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by crtguy View Post

Thanks to the responders to my querry about the SDI mod. I have a Sony And Denon DVD player modified by JVB Digital. The picture on DVD playback is noticeably sharper and cleaner than the HDMI out via Source Select on the Oppo. The signal is routed through a Lumagen VisionPro HDP to a custom modified 9" Marquis CRT. The picture on Bluray and DVD is superb. I have a large collection of DVDs that I still watch. Being impressed with my Ayre C-5xe I would be interested in consolidating all into one source component-hence the basis for my question to Charles. Thanks to all for your response(s).

Thanks for your response. As you have discovered, "bits are not bits".

The question is why does the SDI look better than the HDMI connection. We know that the bits are the same. But something is different. Maybe getting the sound and auxiliary data out of the incoming video signal reduces some interference. Or maybe the HDMI receiver chip used in the scaler is of low quality or has a low quality power supply. There are literally thousands of different possibilities.

Of more interest to me is whether you (and presumably dozens or hopefully hundreds) of CRT lovers would pay more money to improve their picture quality even more with a higher quality scaler. We are really, really good at making high quality D/A converters, both audio and video. We could make a killer scaler with multiple inputs that would make your masterpiece of technology perform visibly better. But it wouldn't be cheap. It wouldn't be $899. But if the demand is there, it would be a really fun project to tackle.

One of the other benefits is that we could make a totally separated audio output for all of your video sources. This would allow you to easily separate the audio and video systems in one fell swoop. This would apply to a less expensive model with only digital video outputs as well as a more expensive model with analog video outputs. Any interest out there?
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post #346 of 1445 Old 02-07-2010, 10:21 AM
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Interested.

Mainly for the digital separation part of it. Using a Lumagen Radiance now but they focus on firmware/features and not on the basic quality of the components and things like audio separation etc. (bit like Oppo in my opinion)
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post #347 of 1445 Old 02-08-2010, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Flip14 View Post

Interested. Mainly for the digital separation part of it.

Thanks for the feedback. Would you need an analog video output or just the digital video outputs?

To put this in perspective, the DX-5 is really aimed at the customer who wants a two-channel home theater. This is how I would use it, as that is how my system is set up. Furthermore, I have no other video sources at all as all I ever watch are movies on optical disc. My system is really geared toward music playback and I watch one or two movies a week.

But many people (especially the ones on this forum) focus on the video part of the equation. They tend to have multiple video sources and also a surround audio system. The DX-5 will work well in this situation as:

a) It has improved HDMI picture quality due to the low-noise analog power supplies.

b) It has improved HDMI audio quality due to the special low-jitter circuitry plus the isolation.

But if you don't listen to two-channel music a lot, the ultra-high quality analog audio outputs would be wasted. In that case what might more sense would be to offer a different version, say a "DX-5t". This would strictly be a digital transport, with no analog audio outputs and no USB audio input (for use a music server with a PC). Then you would connect this to an Ayre-designed scaler/video switcher.

This second product would have multiple inputs (HDMI and legacy) and then two HDMI outputs -- one for video and one for audio. The audio output would be isolated, making it dead simple to isolate your video and audio systems even with multiple video sources. Then if there were enough demand we could offer an optional analog video output option as well.

These are just some ideas that are floating around in my head. We always have far more ideas than time to implement them. I think that the DX-5 will meet the needs of many people in its present form. And I also think that there is a need for a scaler/video switcher that can provide isolation for multiple video sources, whether or not we ever offered a "stripped-down" version of the DX-5.

I'll keep kicking it around. You guys have given us some good feedback already. We will definitely incorporate the LFE mixing as an option that is accessed via a code on the remote control. That is a unique feature, to the best of my knowledge and one that I didn't realize was needed. Thanks for your collective input.
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post #348 of 1445 Old 02-08-2010, 12:51 PM
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Wow! I came across this thread whilst researching alternatives for a universal audio player which could stream hi-def audio from my computer. I would never have found it normally since I have no interest in video and almost only watch films with my grandchildren.
There has been lots of technical info which makes sense to me, rather than the pseudo technical claptrap one often reads. (I am an engineer but I work on F1 racing cars, though I had a brief spell in R&D at Garrards in the 70s).
I choose by listening and am getting to the stage of replacing my ageing CD system with something better and more versatile.
I will probably get the Ayre for the audio alone, since I have no HDMI capable products at home (only an old Barco projector for the occasional video).
My only concern is its compatibility with my Goldmund system. It seems the Ayre philosophy is balanced throughout (to eliminate noise??) whereas the Goldmund is strictly single ended as their belief is simpler circuits. Both plausible, perhaps not compatible.
Anyway I will hear when the UK distributor has one to try!
Keep the information coming!
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post #349 of 1445 Old 02-08-2010, 03:52 PM
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what might more sense would be to offer a different version, say a "DX-5t". This would strictly be a digital transport, with no analog audio outputs and no USB audio input


If you built this, I would be seriously interested. My days of needing high-quality 2ch analog from a digital player are over. I also have zero interest in a USB DAC - my digital media files are stored on a NAS.
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post #350 of 1445 Old 02-08-2010, 04:23 PM
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Wow! I came across this thread whilst researching alternatives for a universal audio player which could stream hi-def audio from my computer.

As far as I know, this will be the only product of its kind. If you don't want the video, you could buy the C-5xeMP universal audio player (stereo only!) and the QB-9 USB D/A converter. But then it would be two boxes.

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There has been lots of technical info which makes sense to me, rather than the pseudo technical claptrap one often reads.

We try! But I have to admit that there are things going on that I still don't understand. George Cardas gave me a copy of his LP with the "glide" tone about ten years ago. It sat on my shelf unplayed for five years as I thought the entire concept was too ridiculous to be worth even trying. Then a friend played it for me on his system and I was stunned at the improvement it made in the sound. So (with George's blessings) we made a CD version called "Irrational But Efficacious", meaning it makes no sense whatsoever, but it works. We've sold thousands of them and about the only negative report I heard was from Art Dudley, who wrote in Stereophile that it made his system sound horrible until the effect wore off over a day or two. (I have some theories about that, but that is another topic altogether.)

So we try to apply proper engineering with things like impedance-matched traces on the PCB's with other things like listening to different PCB materials to see which ones sound best. We've been able to build a large "library" of techniques which we know work well, but can't really explain why. Kind of like gravity -- it works really well, but nobody is quite sure why...

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I will probably get the Ayre for the audio alone, since I have no HDMI capable products at home (only an old Barco projector for the occasional video).

The best thing to do would be to get an HD Fury 2 HDMI to analog video converter. It is only a few hundred dollars and does a very nice job. If we ever make a video scaler/switcher with analog video outputs, it will probably cost ten or twenty times that amount. For occasional use, the HD Fury 2 should be fine.

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My only concern is its compatibility with my Goldmund system. It seems the Ayre philosophy is balanced throughout (to eliminate noise??) whereas the Goldmund is strictly single ended as their belief is simpler circuits. Both plausible, perhaps not compatible.

We prefer balanced not because of external noise, but because the circuitry rejects any imperfections on the power supply rails in the same exact way that it rejects common-mode noise on long cables in a recording studio. There is no such thing as a perfect power supply, so we build the best ones we can and then take the extra step of building balanced circuitry to raise the performance even further. It does cost more, but we feel that the benefits justify the cost.

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Anyway I will hear when the UK distributor has one to try!

Always the best approach! And I believe that Symmetry distributes both Ayre and Goldmund now, so that should make things easier.
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post #351 of 1445 Old 02-08-2010, 04:31 PM
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If you built this, I would be seriously interested. My days of needing high-quality 2ch analog from a digital player are over. I also have zero interest in a USB DAC - my digital media files are stored on a NAS.

We may do this at some point, but please don't hold your breath! I was thinking out loud more than anything.

Just out of curiosity, how are you getting your files on and off of the NAS? A NAS is really a hard-drive with a computer motherboard (typically running some version of Windows), but with no keyboard or monitor. Do you have an Ethernet DAC?
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A NAS is really a hard-drive with a computer motherboard (typically running some version of Windows)

Oh barf. Windows' file system performance sucks, especially in multi-user/multi-FS environments. Real NAS' use some form of Linux.


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Do you have an Ethernet DAC?

I have numerous edge devices, both dedicated and general-purpose, that are capable of doing a D-A conversion from streamed data, or sending it on to something that can, or both.

Doing it this way means I can stream (high bit-rate) audio and video all over the house, really long cable runs (or even wireless if I wanted), to all kinds of gadgets, on a general-purpose data network, using low-cost, well-understood, well-engineered network gear. USB is extremely limited in this regard. Easier to build a simple setup with USB, but simple is all it will ever be.
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Oh barf. Windows' file system performance sucks, especially in multi-user/multi-FS environments. Real NAS' use some form of Linux.

As long as I don't have to set up Linux software with the command-line interface, I happily agree. Ideally everything could be done with a dedicated RTOS, but a hard drive turns out to be a complex and difficult-to-manage device if you start digging very deep. That's how Microsoft got started! DOS stood for Disk Operating System. Rather than reinvent the wheel, people use tools that have already been written. Linux is free and offers high performance, although it is not particularly "user-friendly".

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I have numerous edge devices, both dedicated and general-purpose, that are capable of doing a D-A conversion from streamed data, or sending it on to something that can, or both.

Doing it this way means I can stream (high bit-rate) audio and video all over the house, really long cable runs (or even wireless if I wanted), to all kinds of gadgets, on a general-purpose data network, using low-cost, well-understood, well-engineered network gear. USB is extremely limited in this regard. Easier to build a simple setup with USB, but simple is all it will ever be.

Ethernet does offer many advantages over USB, especially wired. (I strongly prefer to avoid wireless for a variety of reasons.) But at the present time I only know of two Ethernet DAC's that are widely available to the consumer:

- The Linn products, which offer great performance but at a high cost and with very limited software.

- The Squeezebox family of products, which provide much better software (but only one choice), and offer excellent performance for the money but are far from edge-of-the-art in that regard.

After that, you have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty in Linux-land with things like Jack and so forth. What exactly are you using and how is your system configured?

I am curious because we are interested in the possibility of making an Ethernet DAC, but the lack of software support swayed us from this course. With USB, the end user can choose any music player for any operating system, and just plug-and-play. With Ethernet you almost need to write your own software. We are a hardware company, not a software company, and the thought of trying to support software for multiple versions of multiple operating systems for multiple hardware platforms makes me very nervous.
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post #354 of 1445 Old 02-09-2010, 01:32 AM
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I'd just like to add that I dont think anyone will have performance issues with a even a very low spec PC running windows for Video/Audio streaming. I use an ancient P3 server with a gbit NIC and half decent raid card running W2K server, it can probably stream about 6-10 high bit rate HD streams at once (I know it has no trouble with 4 and usable bandwidth is around 800Mbit), Linux can perform better (I have done SAN type work with OpenSolaris that offers really high performance) but ithe performance is IMHO not needed for this app and generally no even noticeable unless accessing many small files at once (Not a media streaming pattern) or using 10/20/40Gb (Complete overkill). Transcoding video is a different matter of course.

I would just call a squeezebox a media streamer, just like the DX-5 can do. I suppose you could call an XLR AES/EBU DAC wired over Cat5 an ethernet DAC too but all it really has in common is 110ohm resistance for wiring. Is there actually any DAC protocol that is designed for ethernet? When exactly does a streamer become an ethernet DAC?
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post #355 of 1445 Old 02-09-2010, 05:08 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. Would you need an analog video output or just the digital video outputs?

Digital.
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To put this in perspective, the DX-5 is really aimed at the customer who wants a two-channel home theater. This is how I would use it, as that is how my system is set up. Furthermore, I have no other video sources at all as all I ever watch are movies on optical disc. My system is really geared toward music playback and I watch one or two movies a week.

Totally the other way around for me, 90% movies/video and 10% music playback.
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But many people (especially the ones on this forum) focus on the video part of the equation. They tend to have multiple video sources and also a surround audio system. The DX-5 will work well in this situation as:

a) It has improved HDMI picture quality due to the low-noise analog power supplies.

b) It has improved HDMI audio quality due to the special low-jitter circuitry plus the isolation.

But if you don't listen to two-channel music a lot, the ultra-high quality analog audio outputs would be wasted. In that case what might more sense would be to offer a different version, say a "DX-5t". This would strictly be a digital transport, with no analog audio outputs and no USB audio input (for use a music server with a PC). Then you would connect this to an Ayre-designed scaler/video switcher.

Bingo! That is what I am looking for.
I am not aware of any products/brands that *really* focus on the fundamental quality of components/design for the people who are into movies on surround systems. Big niche market in my opinion.
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This second product would have multiple inputs (HDMI and legacy) and then two HDMI outputs -- one for video and one for audio. The audio output would be isolated, making it dead simple to isolate your video and audio systems even with multiple video sources. Then if there were enough demand we could offer an optional analog video output option as well.

Double bingo
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These are just some ideas that are floating around in my head. We always have far more ideas than time to implement them. I think that the DX-5 will meet the needs of many people in its present form. And I also think that there is a need for a scaler/video switcher that can provide isolation for multiple video sources, whether or not we ever offered a "stripped-down" version of the DX-5.

I'll keep kicking it around. You guys have given us some good feedback already. We will definitely incorporate the LFE mixing as an option that is accessed via a code on the remote control. That is a unique feature, to the best of my knowledge and one that I didn't realize was needed. Thanks for your collective input.

Thank you for thinking outside the box, really interesting ideas.
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post #356 of 1445 Old 02-09-2010, 05:40 AM
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Ethernet does offer many advantages over USB, especially wired. (I strongly prefer to avoid wireless for a variety of reasons.) But at the present time I only know of two Ethernet DAC's that are widely available to the consumer:

- The Linn products, which offer great performance but at a high cost and with very limited software.

- The Squeezebox family of products, which provide much better software (but only one choice), and offer excellent performance for the money but are far from edge-of-the-art in that regard.

Basically any mainstream AVR above $400 will have an ethernet input for Internet Radio and UPNP/DLNA devices. A lot of the new flat panel TV's have ethernet inputs also. And there are many mediaplayers who can connect over ethernet to NAS/PC/etc.

The problem is that most of them have 1: crappy components 2:crappy design 3:crappy software 4:all of the above...
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I am curious because we are interested in the possibility of making an Ethernet DAC, but the lack of software support swayed us from this course. With USB, the end user can choose any music player for any operating system, and just plug-and-play. With Ethernet you almost need to write your own software. We are a hardware company, not a software company, and the thought of trying to support software for multiple versions of multiple operating systems for multiple hardware platforms makes me very nervous.

You allready have a device that can do it The Oppo can stream digital media from network sources over ethernet with the latest firmwares.....
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1215071
So it is a lot like an USB DAC except that it is not plug-and-play (yet) There has to be a media server running on the network source. Things are moving fast in this area so I expect that media servers will be "plug-and-play" in the not to distant future.
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post #357 of 1445 Old 02-09-2010, 09:52 AM
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Basically any mainstream AVR above $400 will have an ethernet input for Internet Radio and UPNP/DLNA devices. A lot of the new flat panel TV's have ethernet inputs also. And there are many mediaplayers who can connect over ethernet to NAS/PC/etc.

The problem is that most of them have 1: crappy components 2:crappy design 3:crappy software 4:all of the above...

You allready have a device that can do it The Oppo can stream digital media from network sources over ethernet with the latest firmwares.....
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1215071
So it is a lot like an USB DAC except that it is not plug-and-play (yet) There has to be a media server running on the network source. Things are moving fast in this area so I expect that media servers will be "plug-and-play" in the not to distant future.

I'm not sure that people want to listen to 64 kbs MP3 internet radio over a $10,000 source component.

I took a look at the page you linked. I don't have time to read through all 13 pages to figure out what they are saying. The impression I was left with was that it's not quite ready for prime-time. (Which by the way, is what Oppo told us. The current Ayre firmware differs from the current Oppo firmware in four ways -- 1. Ayre "splash screen" at startup, 2. No BluTV, as it is considered experimental and possibly buggy, 3. No DLNA, as it is considered experimental and possibly buggy, 4. The Ethernet update will connect to the Ayre server instead of the Oppo server.)

I saw a bunch of things that worked half-way, but it wasn't clear to me that anything works really well. For example, I use Foobar a lot for listening to music with my USB DAC, but it said that the UPnP component is limited to 48/16. Another example was Asset by dBpoweramp. I use their software for converting audio formats and really wanted Asset to work. The last time I tried it (about a month ago), it was a nightmare. I had to open two DOS windows and then use one of them with a complex command-line-interface to play songs. I felt like I was trying to set up a Linux machine from scratch.... It was a far cry from something like iTunes or WMP, which is what 98% of most people use.

Is there any software you know of that will actually play across the Ethernet that the average person could set up and would actually want to use?

If so, I would love to know about it. If there is any reason to activate this feature, I am sure that I can get Oppo to do it for us. Maybe by the time we start shipping our player, they will have worked any existing bugs out of their side of the firmware and hopefully there will be some software applications that could take advantage of this interface that the average person would actually want to use.

The USB audio input we include will work with *any* music player software (Windows, Mac, or Linux), all the way up to 192/24 (Windows will require a special driver to go past 96 kHz, and Linux's ALSA is stuck at 96/24). The biggest limitation is that the cable shouldn't be longer than 5 meters, but even that can be overcome with something like this:

http://www.vitextech.com/products.ph...1&categoryID=7
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I'm not sure that people want to listen to 64 kbs MP3 internet radio over a $10,000 source component.

True, but if I *have* to listen for whatever reason I would rather use the best piece of equipment I can afford to avoid even more degradation of the signal.

Quote:
I took a look at the page you linked. I don't have time to read through all 13 pages to figure out what they are saying. The impression I was left with was that it's not quite ready for prime-time. (Which by the way, is what Oppo told us. The current Ayre firmware differs from the current Oppo firmware in four ways -- 1. Ayre "splash screen" at startup, 2. No BluTV, as it is considered experimental and possibly buggy, 3. No DLNA, as it is considered experimental and possibly buggy, 4. The Ethernet update will connect to the Ayre server instead of the Oppo server.)

I saw a bunch of things that worked half-way, but it wasn't clear to me that anything works really well. For example, I use Foobar a lot for listening to music with my USB DAC, but it said that the UPnP component is limited to 48/16. Another example was Asset by dBpoweramp. I use their software for converting audio formats and really wanted Asset to work. The last time I tried it (about a month ago), it was a nightmare. I had to open two DOS windows and then use one of them with a complex command-line-interface to play songs. I felt like I was trying to set up a Linux machine from scratch.... It was a far cry from something like iTunes or WMP, which is what 98% of most people use.

I would avoid video streaming at the moment because there are too many formats and badly encoded files. Most people complaining have issues with that.
Audio streaming itself is almost plug-and-play if the receiving device supports the mainstream formats. The Oppo is a bit lacking in that respect at this moment so the problems there are mainly due to problems getting the various audio formats transcoded by the media server. I have no Oppo to test but my AVR which has *really*rudimentary support for streaming will connect to WMP,Twonkymedia,Foobar and play the files which it supports. With 3 more clicks in Foobar it will also play the transcoded files. Asset is even better but my AVR has a known issue with Asset so doesnt work.

Quote:
Is there any software you know of that will actually play across the Ethernet that the average person could set up and would actually want to use?

See above...


Quote:
If so, I would love to know about it. If there is any reason to activate this feature, I am sure that I can get Oppo to do it for us. Maybe by the time we start shipping our player, they will have worked any existing bugs out of their side of the firmware and hopefully there will be some software applications that could take advantage of this interface that the average person would actually want to use.

If you would limit support to audio only for the moment and can get Oppo to support the "mainstream'' audio formats it would be "Plug-and-Play" with WMP for example. Question would be which audio formats the Oppo chipset can natively play...

Quote:
The USB audio input we include will work with *any* music player software (Windows, Mac, or Linux), all the way up to 192/24 (Windows will require a special driver to go past 96 kHz, and Linux's ALSA is stuck at 96/24). The biggest limitation is that the cable shouldn't be longer than 5 meters, but even that can be overcome with something like this:

http://www.vitextech.com/products.ph...1&categoryID=7

Even with the USB audio input some tinkering is needed for ''exotiç'' formats. The Ayre player would also need to provide the player interface instead of the PC. That will also open up the possibility of using a NAS or other devices for music playback.
The NAS I have (QNAP) has Twonkymedia as a feature and it literally is 2 clicks and 1 browse button click to get it working with my streaming retarded AVR.
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post #359 of 1445 Old 02-10-2010, 09:56 AM
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True, but if I *have* to listen for whatever reason I would rather use the best piece of equipment I can afford to avoid even more degradation of the signal.

True. Internet radio already works with the USB audio input also.

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I would avoid video streaming at the moment because there are too many formats and badly encoded files. Most people complaining have issues with that.

I think this is why the folks at Oppo recommended that we not include the DLNA support at this time.

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Audio streaming itself is almost plug-and-play if the receiving device supports the mainstream formats. The Oppo is a bit lacking in that respect at this moment so the problems there are mainly due to problems getting the various audio formats transcoded by the media server. I have no Oppo to test but my AVR which has *really*rudimentary support for streaming will connect to WMP,Twonkymedia,Foobar and play the files which it supports. With 3 more clicks in Foobar it will also play the transcoded files. Asset is even better but my AVR has a known issue with Asset so doesnt work.

Again, it sounds like this concept isn't quite ready for prime-time. Close, but not quite there.

I wasn't familiar with Twonky, so I went to their website. Apparently the only audio formats it supports are WAV and MP3. WAV is kind of useless as there is no standard way to include the album art. MP3 is not the format of choice for people spending more than $100 on their audio equipment.

I don't like WMP much and haven't used it. I'm sure that it supports WAV, MP3, and all of the proprietary Windows formats. But that isn't much better than Twonky.

Foobar will support a lot of formats, so that is probably the only viable choice for DLNA at this point. But we don't recommend that for most people -- it's really great for computer-heads, but just too complex to set up for most people.

J.River Media Center just added support for DLNA. This is a great program and supports many more file formats than the first two players mentioned above. They have a great setup guide that explains the whole DLNA concept here:

http://wiki.jrmediacenter.com/index.php/DLNA

At this point, that is about the only thing that looks reasonable. I will play around with it and see what the "user experience" is like.

It also looks like there is zero support for Mac users.... Oops! I take that back. I just found this app for Mac users that may fit the bill:

http://bookshelfapps.com/

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Even with the USB audio input some tinkering is needed for ''exotiç'' formats.

Not really. Most people already have chosen the music player software they like. Most often it is a "Swiss Army Knife" type of program that does everything -- rip CD's, download music, organize, play, and sync to portable devices. They already know how to use it and how to play it. All that you do is connect the USB D/A converter. Your PC will automatically recognize it and then you just select it as the audio device. Boom! You're done. Just play music.

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The Ayre player would also need to provide the player interface instead of the PC. That will also open up the possibility of using a NAS or other devices for music playback. The NAS I have (QNAP) has Twonkymedia as a feature and it literally is 2 clicks and 1 browse button click to get it working with my streaming retarded AVR.

I have to say that I don't quite understand the whole NAS thing. There is a group of people that have them and love them. But you need to have computer to put content on them, which seems to be somewhat self-defeating.

And I'm not sure what you mean by "the Ayre player would also need to provide the user interface instead of the PC". It sounds like the player would actually need to be a PC to do all the things it would need to do. That wouldn't be so bad for the early HD-DVD players, which were literally PC's disguised as disc players. But the Oppo can only do what it can do. The main video decoder/control processor has an ARM core. I'm sure that Oppo will continue to add and refine features. When the DLNA feature gets te bugs worked out, we will add it to our firmware also. Thanks for your help and input on this feature.
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post #360 of 1445 Old 02-11-2010, 11:12 AM
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To make it an Ayre, we dismantle it completely and recycle everything except the main PCB (with the video decoder, ABT scaler chip, and HDMI transmitter), the transport mechanism, the VFD display, and the remote control handset.

If you want a great Blu-Ray player for an incredible price, buy the Oppo. If you want the best picture and sound quality in the world for your home theater and price is not a concern, check out the Ayre. And no, it will not be available in November, sorry. Early next year will be a better guess.

Thanks for the details,

$10K for a Blu Ray player that is based on Oppo is interesting, Even so I have the gren to do so I am not sure it is a wise purchase.

BD Players will be out of date in 5 years if not sooner especially where as I can buy a nice monoblock that will last me 10 years and don't have to worries about it.

Plus using the Oppo as a transport with an SSP-800 is all I need, I wish you luck in selling them.
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