Ayre DX-5 bluray player - Page 16 - AVS Forum
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post #451 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

For many years, the Theta Casablanca has been accepted as the best sounding processor. I largely attribute that to its volume control (and, I believe, discrete circuitry). 99% of all SSP's use nothing but op-amps in the analog signal chain and IC-based volume controls that simply don't sound very good.

Charles, very interesting thread that I just stumbled upon. You probably have an opinion on the issue I am facing. I own a casablanca III and a six shooter and (hopefully within the next few months) will have to make a decision about which way to go for multi channel, once Theta delivers their HDMI upgrade. If I get a top of the line source component (e.g. your Ayre), do you think the HDMI route will sound better than analog through the six shooter? The six shooter does not have the limitations of using analog bypass in a SSP.

Alterntively, if I had to decide between spending 10K on the source component (e.g. Ayre) and running it through the six shooter OR upgrading the Theta to HDMI (in which case I would not be able to afford the top of the line source and had to use a HDMI from the standard Oppo), which investment would give me the best sound you think. Just curious about your opinion. Note that the entire trade off is based on multi channel - for 2 channel I will use a server for convenience.
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post #452 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 08:05 AM
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Another question. A lot of engineering effort seems to be going into the clocks. Would using the Meridian HD621 get you the same results as the Ayre with a standard Oppo? If not, how would the Ayre HDMI architecture improve over the buffering and then reclocking taking place in the HD621?
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post #453 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Really, it is useless for us to speculate. I'm sure that Oppo is doing everything possible to address this issue, and in the end it may be a non-issue in the real world.

As far as HDMI 1.4, the main change was the addition of Ethernet. The idea is that HDMI eliminates all of those pesky cables. Put the audio and video into one cable, despite the fact that all of the people reading this forum don't want the audio and video in the same cable. They want to send the video to the display and the audio to the audio system.

You may have noticed that the Oppo has an Ethernet connection on the back panel. HDMI 1.4 would allow you to combine that cable along with the audio and video into one HDMI cable. Again, I can't see where this makes any sense at all. Nobody has Ethernet in their display or audio system, so why send it there?

Appreciate the links Charles ; its fair to say many have invested in 1.3 systems and dont relish upgrading when 1.3 may suffice .I think oppo are hamstrung to an extent by the people who programmed the chip [and arent at the beck and call of smaller ce's]. In any case I am more eager for a led projector that doesnt need a new globe every 2000 hrs Read an article the other day describing how labour intensive converting old 2d movies into 3d is ; the media will be thin on the ground..

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Again, I can't see where this makes any sense at all. Nobody has Ethernet in their display or audio system, so why send it there?

Many avr's have ethernet ports ;some dnla compliant even for streaming audio/pictures etc . Agree though it exists now [isnt hdmi complicated enough] so is redundant as well as the return sp/dif from the display ;who needs that; it can be done now separately A few have caved in;

http://www.twice.com/article/442365-..._In_Spring.php
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post #454 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

If I get a top of the line source component (e.g. your Ayre), do you think the HDMI route will sound better than analog through the six shooter? The six shooter does not have the limitations of using analog bypass in a SSP.

The ayre has a 2ch analog audio board ;no multichannel analogs for the 6 shooter . Hope that simplifies things
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post #455 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 09:02 AM
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Sorry to jump in here so late but does the ayre DX-5 use the DSD1796 DAC from texas instruments?
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post #456 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cwt View Post

The ayre has a 2ch analog audio board ;no multichannel analogs for the 6 shooter . Hope that simplifies things

Thanks for telling me - I was about to order one and would have been so disappointed! I still need to make the call about spending my $$$ on Theta HDMI upgrade and getting on Oppo, or going all out on the front end (say Marantz UD9004), and run it through the Six Shooter, but that is for another forum then.....
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post #457 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Thanks for telling me - I was about to order one and would have been so disappointed! I still need to make the call about spending my $$$ on Theta HDMI upgrade and getting on Oppo, or going all out on the front end (say Marantz UD9004), and run it through the Six Shooter, but that is for another forum then.....

Or if you want a different look you can always go for the mcintosh MVP881.
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post #458 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

That is why the ultra-low jitter video clock on the audio-only HDMI output will give higher sound quality than the main A/V HDMI output.

Could you tell us what the rough jitter levels (in picoseconds) are for both the A/V HDMI and the A/O HDMI?

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post #459 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by dicey View Post

Could you tell us what the rough jitter levels (in picoseconds) are for both the A/V HDMI and the A/O HDMI?

Good question, I would like to know as well.
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post #460 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 10:50 AM
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We are building the DX-5 to cover all of the bases -- top quality video, top quality multi-channel audio (via HDMI), and top quality two-channel audio (via analog). Are you looking for a player that omits one of those features?

I think this unique combination of features make it difficult to grasp the nature of the DX-5. There is nothing else on the market quite like it.

Here is my take.

The Videophile can get a video transport that will provide top quality separate video and audio streams over HDMI. Priced at $10k it is exspensive but not over the top for a state of the art video transport, in my opinion.

The Videophile will never or rarely use the state of the art two-channel DACs. There will probably be a psychological frustration knowing that he paid for them and that they are better than the the DACs in his SSP. From a marketing point of view it would be easier if it did not have the DACs.

The Audiophile can get a top quality 2-channel universal player, better than any other player in the Ayre line. Priced at $10k it is exspensive but not over the top for a state of the art universal player, in my opinion.

The Audiophile will rarely use the HDMI outs and using similar reasoning as above it would be better if it did not have the HDMI outs.

The Combined Audiophile+Videophile will only be able to take full advantage of the DX-5 with a "Charles Hansen" 2-channel audio/video setup. I think there are very few people with such a setup but Charles thinks differently. Since he is putting his money where is mouth is I respect his opinion and would be glad if I were wrong.

The Combined Audiophile+Videophile will not be able to take full advantage of multichannel audio or video because he will not be able to use the 2-channel analog outs. Whatever DACs he uses will not be as good as those in the DX-5.

The solution to make all people happy is to build a dedicated video transport, a dedicated universal player, and an SSP.The SSP would cost I think $25k+ and would take several years to develop. So we are given a practical $10k alternative with some compromises.
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post #461 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

The Videophile will never or rarely use the state of the art two-channel DACs. There will probably be a psychological frustration knowing that he paid for them and that they are better than the the DACs in his SSP. From a marketing point of view it would be easier if it did not have the DACs.

From what I found in a google search is that the DX-5 uses DSD1796 DAC which is very common today.
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post #462 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

I think this unique combination of features make it difficult to grasp the nature of the DX-5. There is nothing else on the market quite like it.

Here is my take.

The Videophile can get a video transport that will provide top quality separate video and audio streams over HDMI. Priced at $10k it is exspensive but not over the top for a state of the art video transport, in my opinion.

The Videophile will never or rarely use the state of the art two-channel DACs. There will probably be a psychological frustration knowing that he paid for them and that they are better than the the DACs in his SSP. From a marketing point of view it would be easier if it did not have the DACs.

The Audiophile can get a top quality 2-channel universal player, better than any other player in the Ayre line. Priced at $10k it is exspensive but not over the top for a state of the art universal player, in my opinion.

The Audiophile will rarely use the HDMI outs and using similar reasoning as above it would be better if it did not have the HDMI outs.

The Combined Audiophile+Videophile will only be able to take full advantage of the DX-5 with a "Charles Hansen" 2-channel audio/video setup. I think there are very few people with such a setup but Charles thinks differently. Since he is putting his money where is mouth is I respect his opinion and would be glad if I were wrong.

The Combined Audiophile+Videophile will not be able to take full advantage of multichannel audio or video because he will not be able to use the 2-channel analog outs. Whatever DACs he uses will not be as good as those in the DX-5.

The solution to make all people happy is to build a dedicated video transport, a dedicated universal player, and an SSP.The SSP would cost I think $25k+ and would take several years to develop. So we are given a practical $10k alternative with some compromises.

Very good 10K 2 channel audio players is a crowed marktplace. Unless the Ayre sets a new price performance standard in this space, they will have a hard time competing. Video is not a differentiator either because you can get SOTA video for a fraction of the cost. A potential differentiation of this player is for multi channel HDMI audio. With the possible exception of Meridian's HD621, no one has managed to produce a high rez audio over HDMI implementation that beats analog - may be the Ayre will do just that. The only question at this point is will Ayre's implementation and say the Meridan architecture be redundant. I.e. if you clean up the bits in the sink, will things get any better if you clean up the bits in the source or is it a waste of money.
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post #463 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Another question. A lot of engineering effort seems to be going into the clocks. Would using the Meridian HD621 get you the same results as the Ayre with a standard Oppo? If not, how would the Ayre HDMI architecture improve over the buffering and then reclocking taking place in the HD621?

The Ayre has many differences compared to the HD621 that reflect the differences in each company's design philosophy.

EDIT: The information in this next paragraph is completely wrong. I apologize for posting this, as I was confused.

The HD621 gives lip service to separating out the audio signal so that it "is free from video pollution". This is pure marketing BS. The HDMI audio signal must be sent along with a (minimum) 720p video signal or the link will not work. They probably send a gray or black screen, but whether that will improve the sound quality is questionable at best. To add insult to injury, it uses a switching power supply that will inject noise into the AC mains and also any equipment connected to the unit.

EDIT: The HD621 does separate the audio out as it is sent on either S/PDIF links or Meridian's proprietary MHR (Meridian High Resolution) link that uses CAT 5 cabling. S/PDIF is relatively easy to isolate by using a high-speed pulse transformer that only costs a few dollars. I do not know if these are used, either in the HD621 or at the inputs of the Meridian processors. I would assume that they are used at least in the processors as it is a fairly common feature used in many digital products. Again, I apologize for the error.

In contrast, the Ayre has opto-isolators so that the ground of the video section (player + display) is electrically separate from the ground of the audio system (player + SSP/preamp + amp). This isolation is crucial for obtaining both the best picture quality and the audio quality. The power supplies in the Ayre are purely linear, designed for the lowest possible noise, both for the circuitry and the AC mains.

The main thing that the Meridian unit does that is unusual is that it includes "upsampling" for the audio. I suppose that their current line of SSP's are not able to be upgraded to their new "apodising" digital audio filter (a similar filter is included in all current Ayre digital products in a user-selectable "Measure" position, although we have found a better-sounding filter that we incorporate in our "Listen" position) so this is a way to allow their current customers to upgrade to both HDMI capabilities and Meridian's new digital filters.

However if you read the fine print there are at least two flies in this ointment:

a) The maximum data rate is 96 kHz. Higher sample rate material will be downsampled!

b) The unit does not accept the "DSD" signal that is output from SACD's.

It is probably a good choice for someone who already owns a Meridian processor, but not for anyone else.
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post #464 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cwt View Post

Many avr's have ethernet ports ;some dnla compliant even for streaming audio/pictures etc . Agree though it exists now [isnt hdmi complicated enough] so is redundant as well as the return sp/dif from the display ;who needs that; it can be done now separately A few have caved in;

Thanks for the link.

It is ironic how HDMI was meant to simplify things (at least that is what we were told -- much of the real impetus was to incorporate content protection -- that plus make a bunch of money) and it has become incredibly complex, especially as they keep tacking on new "features"...
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post #465 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by HDMIinfinity View Post

From what I found in a google search is that the DX-5 uses DSD1796 DAC which is very common today.

Uhhh...

Your "Google search" is wrong. We use the DSD1792A chip. But a D/A converter's performance probably only depends about 10% on the DAC chip. The digital filter is maybe 20% (we bypass the one in the DSD1792A and roll our own in an FPGA), the clock is maybe 20%, and the other 50% of the sound quality comes from the analog circuitry and the power supplies.

One shouldn't ever think that one can tell how something will sound by looking at the "specs". The only way to know how it will sound is to listen to it.
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post #466 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Charles, very interesting thread that I just stumbled upon. You probably have an opinion on the issue I am facing. I own a casablanca III and a six shooter and (hopefully within the next few months) will have to make a decision about which way to go for multi channel, once Theta delivers their HDMI upgrade. If I get a top of the line source component (e.g. your Ayre), do you think the HDMI route will sound better than analog through the six shooter? The six shooter does not have the limitations of using analog bypass in a SSP.

Alterntively, if I had to decide between spending 10K on the source component (e.g. Ayre) and running it through the six shooter OR upgrading the Theta to HDMI (in which case I would not be able to afford the top of the line source and had to use a HDMI from the standard Oppo), which investment would give me the best sound you think. Just curious about your opinion. Note that the entire trade off is based on multi channel - for 2 channel I will use a server for convenience.

As another poster has pointed out, the DX-5 only has two channels of analog audio outputs. However it also has a USB audio input for use with a computer to create a server with unparalleled sound quality.

How much is the Theta HDMI option??? I can't believe that it is so expensive that it would force you to make these difficult choices. Meridian makes an HDMI to S/PDIF audio converter that I believe is around $2,000 or $3,000. Can the Theta be more than that???

But assuming that the HDMI option really is that expensive, I would get that plus on Oppo before I would spend a lot of money on a player with multi-channel analog outputs. The converters in the Casablanca are going to be better than the converters in any Blu-Ray player (except for the Ayre, which only has two channels).
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post #467 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dicey View Post

Could you tell us what the rough jitter levels (in picoseconds) are for both the A/V HDMI and the A/O HDMI?

There is no standard way to measure jitter, so putting out number would be meaningless. You would end up comparing them to some other numbers that were obtained by a completely different method. You would think you were comparing "apples to apples" but you wouldn't be.
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Uhhh...

Your "Google search" is wrong. We use the DSD1792A chip. But a D/A converter's performance probably only depends about 10% on the DAC chip. The digital filter is maybe 20% (we bypass the one in the DSD1792A and roll our own in an FPGA), the clock is maybe 20%, and the other 50% of the sound quality comes from the analog circuitry and the power supplies.

One shouldn't ever think that one can tell how something will sound by looking at the "specs". The only way to know how it will sound is to listen to it.

The classe SSP-800 uses the same DAC so I don't see how the DX-5 would be any better for 2CH. Can you give some details on how you make the DSD1792A perform better and do you have any numbers for the jitter performance of the DX-%?
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post #469 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

There is no standard way to measure jitter, so putting out number would be meaningless. You would end up comparing them to some other numbers that were obtained by a completely different method. You would think you were comparing "apples to apples" but you wouldn't be.

So you have not measured the jitter in the DX-5?
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post #470 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

I think this unique combination of features make it difficult to grasp the nature of the DX-5. There is nothing else on the market quite like it.

Yes!

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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

The Videophile will never or rarely use the state of the art two-channel DACs. There will probably be a psychological frustration knowing that he paid for them and that they are better than the the DACs in his SSP. From a marketing point of view it would be easier if it did not have the DACs.

If the "videophile" never listens to music, this will be true. But if music is part of the equation at all, then he can listen to two-channel music (99.99% of all the music on the planet) through the analog outputs, either by playing optical discs or by connecting a PC and using it as a music server.

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The Audiophile will rarely use the HDMI outs and using similar reasoning as above it would be better if it did not have the HDMI outs.

If the "audiophile" never watches movies, this will be true. But if movies are part of the equation at all, he can simply hang a flat-screen display between his speakers and have an instant HT 2.0.

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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

The Combined Audiophile+Videophile will not be able to take full advantage of multichannel audio or video because he will not be able to use the 2-channel analog outs. Whatever DACs he uses will not be as good as those in the DX-5.

Actually, the "audiophile + videophile" will have the best of both worlds. He can listen to music at the highest quality level possible through the analog outputs. And he can listen to multi-channel movie soundtracks at the highest quality possible through his SSP with the lowest-jitter, highest performance source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGA View Post

The solution to make all people happy is to build a dedicated video transport, a dedicated universal player, and an SSP.The SSP would cost I think $25k+ and would take several years to develop. So we are given a practical $10k alternative with some compromises.

Exactly.

We would also need to make a video scaler/switcher as part of the above list.
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post #471 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HDMIinfinity View Post

The classe SSP-800 uses the same DAC so I don't see how the DX-5 would be any better for 2CH. Can you give some details on how you make the DSD1792A perform better and do you have any numbers for the jitter performance of the DX-%?

Actually the Classe uses the PCM1792A (only on the L, R, C, Sub), while Ayre uses the DSD1792A. It's a small detail. But many small details are what makes the difference. I believe it was Mies van der Rohe who said "God is in the details."

We have a $75,000 Wavecrest Time Interval Analyzer. This is the same piece of equipment that nearly all crystal manufacturers use to characterize their products. It is probably the most accurate way to measure jitter outside of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) labs where they create the atomic clocks for the government.

But what number should we give you? RMS? Peak-to-peak? Over what bandwidth? 10 Hz to 100 kHz? 12 kHz to 1 MHz?

And what would you compare it to? Whatever it was, I can guarantee that it wasn't made with an instrument as accurate as the Wavecrest. And I can guarantee that they won't specify any of the test conditions. So there is absolutely no point in giving you a number.
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post #472 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Actually the Classe uses the PCM1792A (only on the L, R, C, Sub), while Ayre uses the DSD1792A. It's a small detail. But many small details are what makes the difference. I believe it was Mies van der Rohe who said "God is in the details."

We have a $75,000 Wavecrest Time Interval Analyzer. This is the same piece of equipment that nearly all crystal manufacturers use to characterize their products. It is probably the most accurate way to measure jitter outside of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) labs where they create the atomic clocks for the government.

But what number should we give you? RMS? Peak-to-peak? Over what bandwidth? 10 Hz to 100 kHz? 12 kHz to 1 MHz?

And what would you compare it to? Whatever it was, I can guarantee that it wasn't made with an instrument as accurate as the Wavecrest. And I can guarantee that they won't specify any of the test conditions. So there is absolutely no point in giving you a number.

Has any third party meaured jitter in various CE devices with a "Materials & Methods" section defined?

Thanks,

Mike
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post #473 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

As another poster has pointed out, the DX-5 only has two channels of analog audio outputs. However it also has a USB audio input for use with a computer to create a server with unparalleled sound quality.

How much is the Theta HDMI option??? I can't believe that it is so expensive that it would force you to make these difficult choices. Meridian makes an HDMI to S/PDIF audio converter that I believe is around $2,000 or $3,000. Can the Theta be more than that???

But assuming that the HDMI option really is that expensive, I would get that plus on Oppo before I would spend a lot of money on a player with multi-channel analog outputs. The converters in the Casablanca are going to be better than the converters in any Blu-Ray player (except for the Ayre, which only has two channels).

Thanks for the advise - I won't make a decision until Theta actually delivers HDMI and a some reviews are in, but I'm interested in the perspective of all experts in the field.

The Casablanca upgrade will be around 5,000 for HDMI. However, you need the right DAC cards in the processor which will set you back another $7,000. So the difference between using a stripped down Casablanca as a controller for a six shooter and upgrading to HDMI is easily $10,000. That easily buys me a Marantz UD9004.

If the Marantz turns out to sound as good over an all analog six shooter as an Oppo into Casablanca over HDMI this would be my preference (purely because of the economics). My personal expectation is that the analog six shooter route will sound better on multi channel SACD (because of DSD direct conversion in the source component), and the HDMI route will be better on Blu Ray / DVD.

I guess the very best would be to use the Ayre HDMI into the Casablanca but this would be a $20,000 proposition, and is not within my reach.
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post #474 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by scottsol View Post

What is true, is that if you don't have both a stereo preamp and a surround unit you can't get both the best 2 channel and best multichannel sound without having to constantly plug and unplug the audio Hdmi cable. I think Charlie's point here is that if you are really dedicated to optimizing both formats, you should have two preamps.

Actually that may not be true.

If you want to connect the DX-5 to a single SSP using both the analog outputs for music and the HDMI audio-only output for multi-channel (movies), there are two possibilities:

a) We have a Pioneer multi-channel receiver we use for general-purpose testing. When you change inputs, the HDMI receiver is deactivated. This would in turn deactivate the HDMI-audio output of the DX-5 and reactivate the analog audio outputs. It is probable that most SSP's work in this same way. Scott, if you have a Classe handy, we can tell you how to measure this and verify it.

b) If there is some SSP that doesn't turn off the HDMI receiver when you change inputs (which is very unlikely), we still may be able to enter a code on the remote control to force a manual override.

Either way, we should be able to solve this potential problem.
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post #475 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:42 PM
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The HD621 gives lip service to separating out the audio signal so that it "is free from video pollution".

The outgoing audio signal does not contain any video. It is output as balanced MMHR (Multichannel Meridian High Resolution, RJ45 connector/CAT5) or single ended as Smartlink (S/PDIF or when encrypted it is called MHR, RCA connector).

One may choose to output video over HDMI or just the audio. Perhaps you mean the incoming signal is polluted and stays polluted because they don't separate the ground? Many Meridian owners seem to use a Sony PS3 or Oppo.

http://www.meridian-audio.info/public/hd621-ds2[1258].pdf

The HD621 does accept 100-250V. Does that automatically mean it is a switching power supply? Here is a scan of the inside.

http://www.meridian-audio.info/viewp...8&photoid=1496

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It is probably a good choice for someone who already owns a Meridian processor, but not for anyone else.

No one else can really use it because of the encryption and there are no other SSPs I know of with 6-channel digital inputs.

Meridian retail price is $3000. The Theta upgrade price or release date has not been announced but the speculation is that it will be more and may require replacement of the DAC cards. A new Meridian 861 version 6 will set you back some $26,000 or more. Meridian processors nowadays seem to be designed to be used with their digital speakers. Their top DSP8000 speakers are $65,000 a pair, up from $40,000. They use zeroes differently than most of us.
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post #476 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:49 PM
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Actually the Classe uses the PCM1792A (only on the L, R, C, Sub), while Ayre uses the DSD1792A. It's a small detail. But many small details are what makes the difference. I believe it was Mies van der Rohe who said "God is in the details."

The specs are the same.

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We have a $75,000 Wavecrest Time Interval Analyzer. This is the same piece of equipment that nearly all crystal manufacturers use to characterize their products. It is probably the most accurate way to measure jitter outside of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) labs where they create the atomic clocks for the government.

But what number should we give you? RMS? Peak-to-peak? Over what bandwidth? 10 Hz to 100 kHz? 12 kHz to 1 MHz?

And what would you compare it to? Whatever it was, I can guarantee that it wasn't made with an instrument as accurate as the Wavecrest. And I can guarantee that they won't specify any of the test conditions. So there is absolutely no point in giving you a number.

http://www.stereophile.com/hirezplay...re/index5.html

The Ayre C-5xe measured 289 picoseconds peak-peak both for 16-bit CD playback and 24-bit DVD playback, have you improved upon this since it also uses the same DAC as the DX-5?
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post #477 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:56 PM
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Has any third party meaured jitter in various CE devices with a "Materials & Methods" section defined?

The closest thing to a somewhat widespread measurement is the Miller Audio Research test system. This was developed by Paul Miller, who is now editor of Hi-Fi News and Record Review (UK). He uses the system to measure the equipment they test.

John Atkinson of Stereophile also bought one of the MAR analyzers about ten years ago. So he also uses it. Therefore there is a fairly large database of equipment that has been tested with this system.

However, there are several problems with the system:

a) It uses a test signal developed by the late Julian Dunn called JTEST. It was specifically designed to stress the S/PDIF connection. Nonetheless, it has been used extensively to test many other kinds of digital devices, including those for which it is poorly suited.

b) The test results you get depend almost as much on the test equipment as on the device under test (DUT). The original MAR system used a 16-bit data acquisition card in a desktop computer. This gave relatively poor performance and was later replaced by a 24-bit acquisition card. This newer card gives better results but is still trying to make very low-level measurements whilst inside the noisiest possible environment -- a computer!!

Stereophile added an Audio Precision 2722 to their test arsenal a few years ago and the quality of the measurements improved so dramatically that JA decided to compile the first two years worth of new measurements in one place. It explains the test, how it works, what to look for, and then gives the results in order of performance, with the best at the end. The highest performance came from the Ayre C-5xe, which virtually looked like the computer-generated "ideal" graph at the beginning of the article. You can read it here:

http://stereophile.com/features/1208jitter/

You can look at some of the Hi-Fi News test reports if you go to the MAR website and jump through some hoops (like registering):

http://www.milleraudioresearch.com/avtech/index.html

c) There is a strong temptation to try and take the results of this test and spit out a single "jitter" number. The MAR test set does this in some secret algorithm. However, the algorithm used has changed over time and the resulting numbers cannot be compared unless made by the same person with the same equipment within a relatively short time span.

On top of that there is a measurement limit of 120 psec for 16-bit data, which really isn't very low. In theory, 24-bit data can be measured to sub-picosecond levels EXCEPT that the JTEST does not look at low-frequency jitter components at all!!! It turns out that the low-frequency jitter components are probably the ones that the ear is the most sensitive to.

So in practical terms, the Miller test as used by Stereophile and Hi-Fi News can tell you when something is horrible. But it can't tell you when something is operating properly versus operating superbly.
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post #478 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:59 PM
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post #479 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 02:59 PM
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Charles, if you want just contact the guys at audioholics and they will walk you through the process of measuring jitter.
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post #480 of 1442 Old 02-18-2010, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

The outgoing audio signal does not contain any video. It is output as balanced MMHR (Multichannel Meridian High Resolution, RJ45 connector/CAT5) or single ended as Smartlink (S/PDIF or when encrypted it is called MHR, RCA connector).

Mea culpa!!!

I was confused and thinking of something else. I am going to correct my previous post immediately and will answer your other questions in another post. Please accept my apologies, and thank you for pointing out my error!
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