Ayre DX-5 bluray player - Page 25 - AVS Forum
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post #721 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

That being said, I must admit that I am completely shocked that the makers of SSP's have given up on DSD. It makes it sound as if nobody is developing their own decoding engine, but instead they must be buying an off-the-shelf solution.

Only the mass market companies have the engineering staffs to do this easily.

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I have to admit I am just baffled that there aren't any SSP's that will accept DSD. If not, why did Oppo bother to include the DSD over HDMI option in the first place? I think the SSP makers are not doing their jobs as well as they could. They need to use a good volume control, they need to accept DSD, and they need to use Audio Rate Control.

I would insert "high end" a few times in this paragraph as many of the mainstream brands do accept DSD and Sony does implement ARC, as well.

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post #722 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

The PS3 does convert to 176.4 kHz, but I have no idea if that causes stress or not to AVRs. The Oppo outputs 88.2 and some Denon/Marantz players convert to 44.1.

Converting DSD to PCM at 176.4 kHz will probably sound the best. However, on paper there is virtually no reason to do this. This conversion allows analog frequencies up to 88.2 kHz to come through (depending on the filter used). But DSD has an extreme amount of high frequency noise. At 100 kHz, the signal-to-noise ratio of DSD is less than 20 dB. No real music has any energy from any instrument anywhere near that high in level. So all of the high frequency energy would be buried in the noise. The real reason to convert at 176.4 is that you can use a much gentler filter.

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The comparison would be to known good practice--applying a decimation filter with good performance regarding passband ripple, phase, proper dither, all that, as you have found important in your work on PCM DACs and the MP filter.

What I was looking for was some insight into what degree of damage the Oppo imposes in its 88.2 kHz converter. Is it a lame implementation, a good one, somewhere between? I'm not sure that the Sony SACD test disc has the kinds of signals that would lead to any such conclusion. If not, it may forever remain an open question.

There are two main criteria that determine the sonic performance of a digital filter -- whether it is minimum phase or linear phase, and how sharp the "knee" of the filter is. Everything makes a difference, so there will be other factors, but these two are the main ones.

Minimum phase filters sound better than linear phase, and the test for that is to simply use an impulse. I'm not sure if the Sony disc has that, but I believe that it does. Testing the filter rolloff would simply require a frequency sweep, which I am fairly certain is on the Sony disc.

So we could try measuring it to get a degree of understanding. But again, the ultimate test is just to listen to it. You can just use the two-channel analog output of the Ayre and play it through a top-notch two-channel preamp. Then listen to an SACD in both PCM and DSD modes. If there is any degradation, you will know quickly and you will also know how much degradation there is.

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Can't. Comparing PCM thru HDMI against the analog out of the Oppo is a non starter.

I'm not following you. The analog out of the Oppo has widely been acclaimed as sounding quite good. So are you saying that PCM over HDMI through your SSP sounds better than the Oppo's analog or worse?

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I already know the PCM connections sounds best in my system. I already know that my SACDs sound great.

Presumably you have answered my previous question, and the PCM over HDMI sounds better. Why do you suppose that is? Does your SSP digitize the analog inputs? If so, that would explain a lot.

And I'm not clear what you are saying about your SACD's. Do they sound great through the analog outputs? Do they sound great through a different player in a different system? Do they sound great via PCM over HDMI on your SSP? Will your SSP accept DSD? If so, does it convert to PCM or is there a way to play it back "natively"?
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post #723 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Only the mass market companies have the engineering staffs to do this easily.

It's not that hard! There were a couple of times when we planned on making an SSP. Each time we would hire a consultant. The chip makers are happy to work with you and provide plenty of support. Both times the projects were dropped for semi-random reasons.

But if Ayre were dedicated to home theater and made an SSP, there is no way that we would use of off the shelf solution. I would be embarrassed to do so. If you can't differentiate your product because you are using some off-the-shelf solution, how can you hope to survive?

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I would insert "high end" a few times in this paragraph as many of the mainstream brands do accept DSD and Sony does implement ARC, as well.

Pioneer also implements a form of ARC. Unfortunately, both Sony and Pioneer use proprietary commands and not the ones spelled out in HDMI 1.3a. We could decode them so that our player worked with them, but I don't think many people would buy our player to connect it with a Sony or Pioneer A/V receiver!
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post #724 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

May be the SSP manufacturers are thinking if you buy our processor you will want to use the Room EQ and Bass management, so why bother supporting DSD. Ironically some of the mid-fi manufacturers do support it (Pioneer, Denon, Sony, Onkyo).

That doesn't make sense to me. Sure, you need to convert to PCM to use the DSP features. But since nearly all of the DAC chips accept DSD, why not just include a bypass mode that sends the signals straight to the DAC chips? How hard could that be?

I think it is absolutely embarrassing that Pioneer and Sony do this but the "high end" SSP's don't.
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post #725 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Minimum phase filters sound better than linear phase, and the test for that is to simply use an impulse. I'm not sure if the Sony disc has that, but I believe that it does. Testing the filter rolloff would simply require a frequency sweep, which I am fairly certain is on the Sony disc. So we could try measuring it to get a degree of understanding.



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But again, the ultimate test is just to listen to it. You can just use the two-channel analog output of the Ayre and play it through a top-notch two-channel preamp. Then listen to an SACD in both PCM and DSD modes. If there is any degradation, you will know quickly and you will also know how much degradation there is.

I was trying to avoid the additional variable of the DSD DAC vs the PCM DAC. Even if they are both inside the same chip, they are different animals, no? Oh, and one other little detail, I don't have a DX-5.

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Presumably you have answered my previous question, and the PCM over HDMI sounds better. Why do you suppose that is? Does your SSP digitize the analog inputs? If so, that would explain a lot.

I don't use the analog outputs of the Oppo. Seems pointless since I always apply DSP processing (bass management and EQ).

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And I'm not clear what you are saying about your SACD's. 1) Do they sound great through the analog outputs? 2) Do they sound great through a different player in a different system? 3) Do they sound great via PCM over HDMI on your SSP?

Yes to only case 3). This is even true with multi-ch SACDs that were mixed, and I suspect, originally captured in PCM, as compared with the 2-ch CD of the same title, which I realize is not wholly unexpected.

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Will your SSP accept DSD? If so, does it convert to PCM or is there a way to play it back "natively"?

I think it is absolutely embarrassing that Pioneer and Sony do this but the "high end" SSP's don't.

My SSP does not accept DSD. Even if it did, I would not use it. I need bass management and EQ.

Charles, thanks much for graciously engaging on this matter. I know you have a lot more important things to do.
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post #726 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen
That being said, I must admit that I am completely shocked that the makers of SSP's have given up on DSD. It makes it sound as if nobody is developing their own decoding engine, but instead they must be buying an off-the-shelf solution

Other than for DSD why would you need to develop your own decoding engine? But maybe I am misunderstanding decoding. I take decoding to mean breaking the original DD/DTS or DDHD/DTSMA into the PCM 5.1/7.1 data steams. I also thought the decoding rules as set down by Dolby and DTS did not allow for much flexibility, although it is rumored that they did allow Meridian to add some "secret sauce" to their DD/DTS decoding.

But for DDHD/DTSMA even Meridian's $30k 861 does not decode but relies on the player to decode. I think several people use an Oppo or equivalent with their 861.

It does seem to me that the most popular setup today is for the player to decode and the processor to do everything else.
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post #727 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post
I was trying to avoid the additional variable of the DSD DAC vs the PCM DAC. Even if they are both inside the same chip, they are different animals, no? Oh, and one other little detail, I don’t have a DX-5.
I haven't studied the DAC chip used in the Oppo, but the Burr-Brown parts that can accept DSD have exactly the same conversion pathway for both forms of data. B-B has this thing they call "Advanced Segment" where the lower bits are PCM and the upper bits are sigma-delta. But both PCM and DSD are fed straight into that section according to the data they've released.

(There's sometimes more information in the AES papers, so I've attached a page from one that shows the data paths for PCM and for DSD. "ICOB" stands for "Inverted Complementary Offset Binary", "DWA" stands for "Data Weighted Averaging", "DS" stands for "Delta-Sigma", and the "DSD Filter" is an analog FIR, that is to say, it gets filtered just like the PCM does.)

Anyway, the bottom line is that it is a fair comparison. In fact it is the fairest comparison between DSD and PCM playback that I know of. When SACDs came out, there were many, many "comparisons" that had many, many more variables than this. Same clock, same analog circuitry, same converter.

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I don’t use the analog outputs of the Oppo. Seems pointless since I always apply DSP processing (bass management and EQ).
OK, thanks for clarifying. Now it makes sense that you would want to have the best possible DSD to PCM conversion possible. The problem is that to do it right is expensive, and that's just for two channels. It would be cost prohibitive for us to do it for eight channels in the DX-5. It sounds like Theta is going to take that path of providing the highest quality DSD to PCM conversion with their product. Which will please people like yourself that want to use DSP functions, but displease those who want to hear the best possible sound straight from their SACDs.

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Yes to only case 3). This is even true with multi-ch SACDs that were mixed, and I suspect, originally captured in PCM, as compared with the 2-ch CD of the same title, which I realize is not wholly unexpected.
Not unexpected if the recording was performed at a high sample rate, but makes no sense whatsoever if they were recorded at 44.1 kHz. But all kinds of things make no sense. I've heard LPs made from digital recordings that sounded better than the CD that presumably represented the master tape bit-for-bit. Go figure....

 

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post #728 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

Other than for DSD why would you need to develop your own decoding engine?

The chip makers usually have what they call a "reference design" that is helpful for designing a product. Now a "reference design" isn't what is sounds like -- a "reference" that does everything to perfection. Instead, it is the opposite. It is a thing that barely does all of the basic functions. It's job is just to show that the chip works. Getting it to do exactly what you want is up to you.

That's where it gets ugly. It takes thousands of man-hours of programming to get it to do exactly what you want. And even worse is the GUI. There has to be one for the front panel, and nowadays people demand one for the video display as well. That requires thousands of more hours of programming.

This is why you see so few people do it themselves.

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It does seem to me that the most popular setup today is for the player to decode and the processor to do everything else.

Exactly. Why should the SSP makers spend any time or money to do anything that they don't have to? So they get fat and lazy and leave those features out.

"What? Dolby True HD? That'll require four months of programming to get it to work. Forget it! Times are tough. Let our customers go and buy new players if they want that feature."
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post #729 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 03:56 PM
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Thanks for the information, Charles. Most interesting.

Could you give me an example of how custom decoding would be an improvement over "reference" decoding? Is anybody doing custom decoding of DDHD/DTSMA or is everyone just using reference?
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post #730 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 04:14 PM
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Could you give me an example of how custom decoding would be an improvement over "reference" decoding? Is anybody doing custom decoding of DDHD/DTSMA or is everyone just using reference?

With any of the compressed formats, all anyone is trying to do is exactly recreate the signal that went in. I don't think that there are any differences in any of the decoders in that regard.

One of the things that we had planned to do about six years ago was make an SSP where all of the processing was done at quad rate (176/192). I think a few people are finally doing that now. But that is the kind of thing that I mean by "custom processing". Not a different way of decoding compressed formats, that is fixed.

As this thread has shown, another thing that could be done is straight decoding of DSD. That is an old goal that has been around for a decade now! But everything is always a moving target when it comes to home theater (which is the main reason that we haven't entered the arena). One current trick where everyone (except Sony and Pioneer -- but do you really want an ICE powered receiver in your system?) seem to be dropping the ball completely is with ARC. There's no reason for not including it, in my opinion.

Those are the kinds of things that the high end companies should be doing. That's what the high end is all about -- differentiating your product, not just with a flashy ad campaign, but with a product that is demonstrably superior. There are plenty of ways to do this, but it's not my job to give lessons to my competitors!
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post #731 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

It sounds like Theta is going to take that path of providing the highest quality DSD to PCM conversion with their product.

Theta is not planning to do anything along these lines. The Compli BR universal does nothing with DSD above and beyond the standard Oppo, and the (forthcoming???) CBIII with HDMI will not support DSD
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post #732 of 1445 Old 07-10-2010, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

the (forthcoming???) CBIII with HDMI will not support DSD

The entire SSP would need to be designed to handle DSD, which I don't think is true of the CasaBlanca. The other choice would be to put a super high quality DSD to PCM conversion in the HDMI module. But apparently they don't feel the demand is there. Either that or they don't think they could do better than what Oppo does.

It's not how I would go about it, but every company makes their own decisions for their own reasons. Let me give you an example. We had to make sure that the DX-5 had a retail price of under $10,000 in the US. Why? Because the disc drawer is plastic.

We have gotten so much grief for having plastic drawers in our other products that we felt sure nobody would want to pay over $10,000 for a player with a plastic drawer. It's silly, because it has absolutely nothing to do with the performance of the unit whatsoever. The only time the disc even touches the tray is when it is being loaded.

It's kind of like a metal remote. I actually prefer a good plastic remote. Metal remotes can scratch or dent furniture, plus they are ice cold when you pick them up. But some people love metal remotes and want them for the "wow!" factor. We make a really nice metal remote for our (non-video) disc players and amplifiers. In the US it sells for $300. You can get a really nice programmable remote for much less than that. But some people want a metal remote...

Luckily we didn't have to cut any corners DX-5. We were able to do every single thing we wanted and the price came right out at $9950 in the US. But I was sweating bullets for a while, worrying about the price!

Other companies may have similar (or completely different!) constraints that factor in to the way they design products.
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post #733 of 1445 Old 07-15-2010, 03:14 PM
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I think I've found a few minor bugs. The DX-5 owners please recheck if I'm wrong

I wanted to give you an update to let you know that we haven't forgotten about you. We've tracked down the bugs that you reported and they are definitely small timing errors as we relay the IR commands whilst watching for custom commands. So there will be a firmware update to address these issues, as well as some other issues that our Japanese distributor has brought up.

It turns out that Japan uses a different television system from the rest of the world (although Brazil and some other countries in northern South America are adopting it). The soundtrack is encoded with AAC and it does some strange things if you record on off-the-air program to hard disc and then burn it to optical disc for play in the DX-5. (I'm not sure why they want to do this, but never mind that!) At any rate, we'll have a firmware update coming in the next few weeks.

This firmware update is different from the main firmware that can be loaded over ethernet, USB, or optical disc. Instead, this is firmware that programs the Xilinx FPGA's we use for all kinds of different functions in the player. In order to update this firmware, we've manufactured a portable (battery operated) box that we call the "AyreGrammer".

We've made the AyreGrammer as simple to operate as possible so that our dealers and distributors can perform these firmware updates without any problems. There is an external socket on the AyreGrammer to install a chip with the new firmware. Then the cable is connected from the AyreGrammer to the unit requiring the update. If everything is proper, you will get a green LED on the AyreGrammer. Then just press the "Go" button and it only takes a minute or two to download the new firmware.

Almost all of the overseas distributors already have an AyreGrammer, so we will just need to send them the new set of programming chips. On the other hand very few US dealers have it as the units are usually sent back to the factory for updates. If there is enough demand, we can probably build a few more AyreGrammers and send them around to various dealers on a rotating basis.

Thanks for reporting the bugs, and thanks for your patience while we get everything straightened out.
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post #734 of 1445 Old 07-16-2010, 07:34 AM
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Can you comment some more on your experience running the DX-5 through a HD Fury interface? I have a 7" DWIN CRT projector (which still looks great) and was thinking of running the DX-5 directly to the projector via the HD Fury as the only video source.
If I am compromising video performance via this route I would just keep using my D1-X (scaled via a Crystallio II) which still produces a great image at 1080i.

I imagine this will be of interest to any CRT owners out there as I am not sure if there is another alternative given the available DX-5 video outputs.

Thanks, Rob
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post #735 of 1445 Old 07-17-2010, 10:48 AM
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Can you comment some more on your experience running the DX-5 through a HD Fury interface? I have a 7" DWIN CRT projector (which still looks great) and was thinking of running the DX-5 directly to the projector via the HD Fury as the only video source.
If I am compromising video performance via this route I would just keep using my D1-X (scaled via a Crystallio II) which still produces a great image at 1080i.

I imagine this will be of interest to any CRT owners out there as I am not sure if there is another alternative given the available DX-5 video outputs.

I'm sorry, I have never used the HD Fury. I know the guy that has designed it and he is a very sharp guy. I'm sure that it is outstanding given the constraints. If we were to make a video DAC (which is essentially what the HD Fury is), it would be 10x larger (to accommodate better power supplies) and 10x more expensive (to pay for those power supplies). It wouldn't have 10x the picture quality -- of that I am sure. But it would be noticeably better.

But that doesn't help you because we don't make a video DAC. If there is enough interest, we could make one. But so far there haven't been many requests. We still have a very nice 7" CRT, so we're kind of in the same boat. To perform testing on the DX-5 we purchased one of the final generation Pioneer Kuro plasmas. It's very, very nice and was only about 1/5 the price of the projector and screen, but it is only 50" instead of 84" diagonal. That's a big difference!

I have never used the Crystallio, so I can't comment there either. So normally this would be a toss-up, except for one important fact. The D-1x was probably the best DVD player ever made. But it won't play Blu-ray discs. And there is no scaler that can make 480i look as good as native 1080p. (I realize in your case that you would need to back it off to 1080i, but the ABT chip in DX-5 will do a superb job of that. And that is a mathematically exact operation, unlike attempting to add lines.)

So I would say that if you have, or are planning to purchase, a lot of Blu-ray discs that you will be ahead with the DX-5/HD Fury combination. If you have hundreds or thousands of DVD's and don't plan on switching to Blu-Ray, then it's not so clear and you might just want to stay put with your current setup.
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post #736 of 1445 Old 07-17-2010, 11:07 PM
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Charles

Thanks so much for your honest assessment and response. I own a few hundred DVDs and just a hand full of Blu Ray discs at the moment.

Since my projector is part of a dedicated home audio / theater it probably makes sense to wait until a "kuro" like affordable digital projector is available and just run the DX-5 directly into the projector as my single source, simplifying the number of interfaces.

I recall you making a similar recommendation several years ago with the D-1; I just happened to be using a larger screen (100" diagonal) and scan lines would have been noticeable without the use of a scaler.

As a side note I have to tell you that when I first bought my D-1 over 9 years ago I compared both the D-1 against the CAL Audio DVD player (remember that fine company!) through a DWIN at my dealer. Although the CAL was one of the best DVD players at the time the D-1 was just more watchable. I could not take my eyes off of the screen. "More filmlike" is an often overused term, but that is exactly what the D-1 was like.

I would not doubt the DX-5 to be of similar ilk and I look forward to purchasing one when the right projector is available.

Thanks again for your suggestions and the great products you and your company produce!

Rob
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post #737 of 1445 Old 07-18-2010, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rmika View Post

Since my projector is part of a dedicated home audio / theater it probably makes sense to wait until a "kuro" like affordable digital projector is available and just run the DX-5 directly into the projector as my single source, simplifying the number of interfaces.

Yes, if you can find the right projector you can really simplify things with the DX-5 by eliminating the scaler. Plus you will gain the ability to play SACD's and DVD-Audio discs, plus you can connect a computer to create a music server.

I'm sure that there are some great projectors out there. I'm a little out of touch now but for a long time JVC led the pack with their D-ILA reflective LCD technology. About five or six years ago Sony copied it with their XRCD projector that made quite a stir at $25,000. Then they followed it up with one at $5,000 that was supposed to be the deal of a lifetime for projectors. And right at the end Pioneer re-badged a JVC for their Kuro lineup.

So the reflective LCD is still probably the best way to go. I never saw a 3-chip DLP projector, but the single chips with the color wheels all gave me a headache. I would never recommend one of those. But I'm sure that for $5,000 to $10,000 you can get a killer projector that will kick the pants off of that Dwin. It was great in its day, but it doesn't really have the light output to fill up a 100" screen, plus all of the new projectors will do 1920 x 1080 at 72 Hz. That will give you 3:3 pulldown and judder will be eliminated. Finally, you will just need the one HDMI cable. All in all, I think you will be very happy with the improvement.

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Although the CAL was one of the best DVD players at the time the D-1 was just more watchable. I could not take my eyes off of the screen.

Yes, it just sucks you into the story of the movie. I remember comparing players at a reviewer's house one time. His reference disc was the Disney animated feature "Dinosaur". Not my kind of movie! But every time we put the Ayre player in, we couldn't stop watching!
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post #738 of 1445 Old 07-19-2010, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

I wanted to give you an update to let you know that we haven't forgotten about you. We've tracked down the bugs that you reported and they are definitely small timing errors as we relay the IR commands whilst watching for custom commands. So there will be a firmware update to address these issues, as well as some other issues that our Japanese distributor has brought up.

It turns out that Japan uses a different television system from the rest of the world (although Brazil and some other countries in northern South America are adopting it). The soundtrack is encoded with AAC and it does some strange things if you record on off-the-air program to hard disc and then burn it to optical disc for play in the DX-5. (I'm not sure why they want to do this, but never mind that!) At any rate, we'll have a firmware update coming in the next few weeks.

This firmware update is different from the main firmware that can be loaded over ethernet, USB, or optical disc. Instead, this is firmware that programs the Xilinx FPGA's we use for all kinds of different functions in the player. In order to update this firmware, we've manufactured a portable (battery operated) box that we call the "AyreGrammer".

We've made the AyreGrammer as simple to operate as possible so that our dealers and distributors can perform these firmware updates without any problems. There is an external socket on the AyreGrammer to install a chip with the new firmware. Then the cable is connected from the AyreGrammer to the unit requiring the update. If everything is proper, you will get a green LED on the AyreGrammer. Then just press the "Go" button and it only takes a minute or two to download the new firmware.

Almost all of the overseas distributors already have an AyreGrammer, so we will just need to send them the new set of programming chips. On the other hand very few US dealers have it as the units are usually sent back to the factory for updates. If there is enough demand, we can probably build a few more AyreGrammers and send them around to various dealers on a rotating basis.

Thanks for reporting the bugs, and thanks for your patience while we get everything straightened out.

thank you Charles

I like the way you respond in the forum and I think I can count on you in every issue here.

Now Ayre is my favorite brand and will buy again when the time is right

ps. now: k5, v5, v6, dx5
past: d1, cx7
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post #739 of 1445 Old 07-20-2010, 06:30 AM
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To perform testing on the DX-5 we purchased one of the final generation Pioneer Kuro plasmas. It's very, very nice and was only about 1/5 the price of the projector and screen, but it is only 50" instead of 84" diagonal. That's a big difference!

Next time shop around a bit - I bought my Pioneer Kuro projector (MSRP $9,000), for $2,500 on ebay - brand new. It has been working flawlessly for over a year. I believe at the height of the economic crisis Pioneer had lots of overcapacity and dumped them on a grey market..... How affordable can you get? Not fun for Pioneer dealers though.
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post #740 of 1445 Old 07-20-2010, 09:26 AM
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Next time shop around a bit - I bought my Pioneer Kuro projector (MSRP $9,000), for $2,500 on ebay - brand new. It has been working flawlessly for over a year. I believe at the height of the economic crisis Pioneer had lots of overcapacity and dumped them on a grey market..... How affordable can you get? Not fun for Pioneer dealers though.

I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my previous post. I meant 1/5 the price that we had paid for the CRT projector, motorized screen, installation, and calibration some six or eight years ago.

You are right about there being a window of opportunity for the Pioneer products. Pioneer USA was reducing prices to dealers and dealers were reducing prices to consumers, and very much so for a relatively short time. Normally there is only a 10% or 20% profit margin on video displays, so to get a great projector like the Pioneer for nearly 70% off was a great score. I'm sure that your enjoying your theater every night!
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post #741 of 1445 Old 07-20-2010, 11:27 AM
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I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my previous post. I meant 1/5 the price that we had paid for the CRT projector, motorized screen, installation, and calibration some six or eight years ago.

You are right about there being a window of opportunity for the Pioneer products. Pioneer USA was reducing prices to dealers and dealers were reducing prices to consumers, and very much so for a relatively short time. Normally there is only a 10% or 20% profit margin on video displays, so to get a great projector like the Pioneer for nearly 70% off was a great score. I'm sure that your enjoying your theater every night!

I most certainly do. This may be a little bit off topic, but I found out a week ago that inserting a PS Audio Power plant premier (replacing a Furman Reference 20) did more for video quality than any video component upgrade I ever did (and this is just with clean power to my Marantz ud9004, the Pioneer Projector is powered in the ceiling and cannot be connected to the powerplant). Not sure what you are recommending your DX-5 customers (and if you have tried this in the labs yourself and came tothe same conclusion), but if you customers are going to spend 10K on a SOTA universal, i would say getting the PPP is mandatory to get the most out of it.
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post #742 of 1445 Old 07-21-2010, 10:00 AM
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I'll bet Charlie would suggest DX-5 owners use the AYRE L-5xe power filter. Unlike other products, it is strictly an RF filter and is quite effective by itself but can also be used in series with conditioners. This is mentioned way back in post #20
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post #743 of 1445 Old 07-21-2010, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

I most certainly do. This may be a little bit off topic, but I found out a week ago that inserting a PS Audio Power plant premier (replacing a Furman Reference 20) did more for video quality than any video component upgrade I ever did (and this is just with clean power to my Marantz ud9004, the Pioneer Projector is powered in the ceiling and cannot be connected to the powerplant). Not sure what you are recommending your DX-5 customers (and if you have tried this in the labs yourself and came tothe same conclusion), but if you customers are going to spend 10K on a SOTA universal, i would say getting the PPP is mandatory to get the most out of it.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as if you have never owned an Ayre video disc player. Remember, that every single electronic circuit in the world, digital or analog, is simply a modulated power supply. Then it becomes immediately obvious that the quality of the power supply is critical to the performance of the circuit, both digital and analog, both audio and video.

With a power regenerator you are sending somewhat cleaner power to your components. (I say "somewhat" because there is a big logical fallacy concerning the operation of these units. They work more or less like a big audio power amplifier. But if that could provide complete isolation, then your power amp would already have complete isolation! And so would all of your other equipment with linear power supplies...) But if you are sending somewhat cleaner power to a piece of video equipment with a switching power supply that just generates more noise, the performance gains will be limited.

A better approach is to do what we do in our video disc players -- get rid of the switching power supplies altogether and replace them with linear power supplies that have AC line filters and ultra-low noise voltage regulators. And then we extend that even further by isolating the audio and video systems completely.

Back to your question about a power regenerator. Will that improve the performance of the DX-5 even further? Possibly, but I don't know. We've listened to a fair number of filters and regenerators over the years. In an audio system, all the ones that we listened to created trade-offs. Some things would get better, while other things would get worse.

The only power filter I have ever heard that only does good things to the sound is our L-5xe. It's a fairly straight-forward affair, with an IEC inlet and 4 AC outlets (available in US, Schuko, and UK styles). Each outlet is a single outlet, not a duplex. This allows us to individually filter the ground of each outlet. I don't know of any other AC power filters that take this step. (See scotsol was right!)

Back to video. Will the same things apply? Probably, but I can't say for certain. In audio there is an odd phenomenon that doesn't make much sense but is true. A power conditioner will have the same sonic effect no matter what you plug it into to. In other words, if it makes your power amp sound sweeter with a deeper soundstage, when you plug your turntable power supply in it will also sound sweeter with a deeper soundstage. So my bet would be that the best sounding power line filter would also be the best looking one in a video system.

One last piece of advice. If you get a power line conditioner, live with it for three weeks and then remove it from the system. After three weeks you will be used to all the things it does. When you then remove it, it will be very clear how it changes the sound (or look) of your system. In most cases you will end up leaving it out. All of the spectacular "wow" things that it did when you first plugged it in will be overwhelmed by all of the disappointing "yech" things that it also does, but you didn't notice at first.
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post #744 of 1445 Old 07-25-2010, 11:00 AM
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A better approach is to do what we do in our video disc players -- get rid of the switching power supplies altogether and replace them with linear power supplies that have AC line filters and ultra-low noise voltage regulators.

Hi Charles,

Can a switching power supply be made in the same quality as a linear supply?

The reason I ask is that switching power supplies are becoming more and more pervasive and appearing in some very elite components. I'm pretty sure that nearly the entire Meridian line including the $25,000 861 uses switching power supplies.
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post #745 of 1445 Old 07-25-2010, 11:28 AM
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Hi Charles,

Can a switching power supply be made in the same quality as a linear supply?

Not Charles, but sticking oar in anyway.

I'd say yes. The advantage of switching supplies is they allow automatic universal mains compatibility, frequency/voltage, and can reduce space and weight.

In the end, they must still be filtered and regulated, so the same linear regulators are used downstream (local to the circuits being served) as before for sensitive circuits (maybe not in a powered subwoofer output stage). The real trick is to keep their switching noise isolated, just as it is important to keep hum from transformers isolated. They both present problems, and both can be effectively addressed given sufficient desire and skill.
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post #746 of 1445 Old 07-25-2010, 12:40 PM
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Thanks Roger. Always glad to hear your opinion.

I hope you don't mind a question somewhat OT to the thread but very on topic with your knowledge (and it's been bugging me for some time).

If I understand correctly, the phrase "DD2.0" can mean two things:

1) a straight two channel mix, identical to stereo. This can be expanded by PL5 or PL7x using algorithms that look at phase and frequency to create extra channels (side question, is a .1 channel also created?).

2) a matrixed two channel mix. Here is the mixing engineer has aleady folded in the additional channels and PL5 or PL7x unfolds the mix to create the extra channels. Is the same algorithm as 1) used?

Both 1) and 2) will sound identical when played back over two channels, but unmatrixed 2.0 may sound different when expanded to 5/7 channels than matrixed 2.0.

With 1) the additional channels are created solely by the algorithms. The quality of the final result is unknown. It may sound fine or not. With 2) the additional channels are predetermined by the mixing engineer who knows how the algorithm works and knows how it will sound.

Do I have it right?
Thanks,
George
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post #747 of 1445 Old 07-25-2010, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as if you have never owned an Ayre video disc player. Remember, that every single electronic circuit in the world, digital or analog, is simply a modulated power supply. Then it becomes immediately obvious that the quality of the power supply is critical to the performance of the circuit, both digital and analog, both audio and video.

With a power regenerator you are sending somewhat cleaner power to your components. (I say "somewhat" because there is a big logical fallacy concerning the operation of these units. They work more or less like a big audio power amplifier. But if that could provide complete isolation, then your power amp would already have complete isolation! And so would all of your other equipment with linear power supplies...) But if you are sending somewhat cleaner power to a piece of video equipment with a switching power supply that just generates more noise, the performance gains will be limited.

A better approach is to do what we do in our video disc players -- get rid of the switching power supplies altogether and replace them with linear power supplies that have AC line filters and ultra-low noise voltage regulators. And then we extend that even further by isolating the audio and video systems completely.

Back to your question about a power regenerator. Will that improve the performance of the DX-5 even further? Possibly, but I don't know. We've listened to a fair number of filters and regenerators over the years. In an audio system, all the ones that we listened to created trade-offs. Some things would get better, while other things would get worse.

The only power filter I have ever heard that only does good things to the sound is our L-5xe. It's a fairly straight-forward affair, with an IEC inlet and 4 AC outlets (available in US, Schuko, and UK styles). Each outlet is a single outlet, not a duplex. This allows us to individually filter the ground of each outlet. I don't know of any other AC power filters that take this step. (See scotsol was right!)

Back to video. Will the same things apply? Probably, but I can't say for certain. In audio there is an odd phenomenon that doesn't make much sense but is true. A power conditioner will have the same sonic effect no matter what you plug it into to. In other words, if it makes your power amp sound sweeter with a deeper soundstage, when you plug your turntable power supply in it will also sound sweeter with a deeper soundstage. So my bet would be that the best sounding power line filter would also be the best looking one in a video system.

One last piece of advice. If you get a power line conditioner, live with it for three weeks and then remove it from the system. After three weeks you will be used to all the things it does. When you then remove it, it will be very clear how it changes the sound (or look) of your system. In most cases you will end up leaving it out. All of the spectacular "wow" things that it did when you first plugged it in will be overwhelmed by all of the disappointing "yech" things that it also does, but you didn't notice at first.

Charles. First, I did not realize you are selling a power conditioner. I would not have brought up the Powerplant on this thread had I known. Sorry about that. Second, thanks as always for a thorough response. Now of course I am very curious if the Marantz ud9004 had a linear or switching powers supply. have not found out yet.
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post #748 of 1445 Old 07-25-2010, 07:28 PM
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If I understand correctly, the phrase "DD2.0" can mean two things:

1) a straight two channel mix, identical to stereo.

Yes.

Quote:
This can be expanded by PL5 or PL7x using algorithms that look at phase and frequency to create extra channels (side question, is a .1 channel also created?).

Whatever happens is purely a result of the post-processor, not because it is DD2.0 vs PCM stereo.

In the case of PLII or PLIIx, or Logic7, Neo:6, Circle Surround II, or Neural, none of these generates a "0.1" output. That is the sole domain of the bass management to do.

Quote:
2) a matrixed two channel mix. Here is the mixing engineer has already folded in the additional channels and PL5 or PL7x unfolds the mix to create the extra channels. Is the same algorithm as 1) used?

You are correct that a 2-ch delivery format can deliver either stereo or a downmix of a multichannel program. The post-processors are the same in either case. The end results may differ if the downmix encoding is effective in helping the decoder.

Quote:
Both 1) and 2) will sound identical when played back over two channels, but unmatrixed 2.0 may sound different when expanded to 5/7 channels than matrixed 2.0.

A "surround downmix" can sound different than a regular stereo mix even played on 2 speakers. If the source has strong surround cues, the phase encoding can be identified even without decoding, and would not usually exist in regular stereo mixes.

Quote:
With 1) the additional channels are created solely by the algorithms. The quality of the final result is unknown. It may sound fine or not. With 2) the additional channels are predetermined by the mixing engineer who knows how the algorithm works and knows how it will sound.

There was a time when surround mixers listened to how a 5.1 mix rendered when downmixed and then decoded, since those movies were being played from 35mm optical stereo. That doesn't happen very much anymore now that 5.1 discrete is the order of the day.
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post #749 of 1445 Old 07-26-2010, 07:50 PM
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I'd say yes. The advantage of switching supplies is they allow automatic universal mains compatibility, frequency/voltage, and can reduce space and weight.

These are the keys -- definitely advantageous for an iPod or similar, but when it comes to high-end audio, it is just a way for the manufacturer to save money.

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In the end, they must still be filtered and regulated, so the same linear regulators are used downstream (local to the circuits being served) as before for sensitive circuits (maybe not in a powered subwoofer output stage). The real trick is to keep their switching noise isolated, just as it is important to keep hum from transformers isolated. They both present problems, and both can be effectively addressed given sufficient desire and skill.

On paper, it all sounds so reasonable. But in the real world, once you have 500 kHz square waves with harmonics out into the tens of MHz range (or higher), it's not so simple. Those high frequencies are like the slimy ooze monsters in those old horror flicks from the '50s -- they can get anywhere. You can't just "filter out the noise". It inevitably gets into the sensitive circuitry and degrades the performance.

Ironically vacuum tubes seem to be much less sensitive to RFI in terms of sound quality degradation. But there aren't many tube manufacturers using SMPS's!
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post #750 of 1445 Old 07-26-2010, 07:58 PM
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Charles. First, I did not realize you are selling a power conditioner. I would not have brought up the Powerplant on this thread had I known. Sorry about that. Second, thanks as always for a thorough response. Now of course I am very curious if the Marantz ud9004 had a linear or switching powers supply. have not found out yet.

I don't have any problems if you bring up another manufacturer's products on this thread. In fact I welcome it. One thing that would be interesting would be to compare the PPP versus the Ayre L-5xe. Very different approaches. My guess is that the PPP would be much more impressive at first. Over the long run? That is a question for one of the readers to answer.

But it just goes to show how important the power supply is to the performance of any product, audio or video, analog or digital. As I said before, ALL circuits are just modulated power supplies so you need to start with a good power supply.

The second and third to last upgrades we did to our product line ("x" and "e") were both just improvements to the power supply. Every year we learn new tricks and figure out how to get more performance. A lot of that research is on the power supply.
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