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post #121 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Dolby specifies the mixdown coefficients that must be used. All 5 channels are mixed in according to the following formula:

L' = L + clev*C + slev*Ls
R' = R + clev*C + slev*Rs

where "clev" and "slev" stand for "center level" and "surround level" and are coefficients chosen by the mastering engineer and encoded in the Dolby Digital stream. I believe that the default values are 0.707 and that it is probably rare to find a disc where somebody bothered to change them.

The LFE channel is NOT mixed in. This is forbidden by the Dolby spec, largely due to the legacy they created when they first made "tacked-on" systems to retrofit into movie theaters and specified a different gain level.

Dolby does define downmixing, some different flavors depending on the purpose. One is to create a surround compatible signal suitable for surround decoding. Back when Dolby Digital first arrived, the only products able to do surround decoding used Pro Logic or the like. This was a way to feed them prior to S/PDIF and 5.1 onboard decoding took over. Not very important anymore.

Another downmix is for stereo playback, as for headphones. That is the downmix you described above. Most DVD players offer the user a choice of surround or stereo downmixing.

More recently, Dolby introduced expanded downmixing for DD+ bitstreams, which allows the embedded coefficients to define how LFE is to be included. It also allows a way to encode the 2-ch signal optimally for PLII decoding, with stereo surrounds.

Lastly, we have the downmixing for TrueHD, which is the most flexible of all--any source channel can go to any output, at any level, at any polarity.

Yes, all of the above downmixing coefficients are defined by the content maker, and all of these downmixes are performed in the "codec" domain.

As to post-decode processing, if you make a multichannel product Dolby basically says that as long as the product meets the stated functional requirements, any other post-processing can be bolted on, as long as the consumer can switch it off if so desired. That's why you see things like Neo:6, Neural, THX, Audyssey xyz, etc., processing DD/DTHD signals. This is how you'd be free to build a downmixer/bass manager as you desire, with LFE mixed in.
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post #122 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 12:45 PM
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Oh yes! Here we go. Step one -- open mouth wide. Step two -- insert foot.

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

So you answered your own question, since the S/N would have been hurt (among other issues), the LFE channel was defined without changing the main channels. How is that a screwup? It's dealing with the reality of evolving theatrical sound standards in an ongoing industry with established practices and an installed base. Would it have been done differently with a clean sheet approach? Definitely. So would color TV, FM stereo radio...

(Trying hard to pull foot from mouth...)

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I would have preferred first of all to simply use the same levels for the bass channels as the rest of them. If they needed more bass output to keep up with the greater number of normal channels, they could have simply paralleled additional bass drivers for only a fractional increase in the overall cost of the system.

Turning to DVD and home theater, I would argue that it would have been less painful to nip the problem in the bud rather than allow it to continue growing. If I were king, I would have standardized the output levels and required that the soundtracks be remixed, if necessary.

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

The idiots only mix some of the bass into the LFE channel. A good deal of the soundtrack's bass is carried in the main L/C/R channels.

If we are to believe the posters in this thread, there are many discs where enough of the bass is redirected to the LFE channel that a two-channel mixdown is unsatisfying. I don't know what Dolby's requirements are in this regard, but it would seem that either they are insufficient or else that there are mixdown engineers that violate them.

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I was there 25 years and never saw Dolby forbid this. Maybe you didn't ask the right question, or make a compelling case? And if there are software players doing it, as others allege, how could that be so if Dolby forbids it? And how could LFE be mixed into L/R for Dolby Headphone?

In Dolby's defense I must say that when we were in the process of obtaining a license (which we never completed), we had several conversations (including some with Roger, I believe!) asking if we could do things outside the rules of the manual. The answer was always very positive, and if we could make a good case for something it was well received.

But my statement comes directly from the Dolby Licensee Manual, Issue 5. In the chapter on product design, section 4.5.7 "Downmixing" states:

What Happens to the LFE Channel?
The LFE channel is not included in any of the standard downmix equations. In a
product with only two output channels, the LFE channel will simply be omitted.

It seems pretty cut-and-dry here. I suppose that we could have asked for an exception, and perhaps it would have been granted. But it is clear that the vast majority of all Dolby-approved products discard the LFE information in a two-channel output.

That issue of the Manual also states that the same is true for the headphone outputs. If Dolby introduced a separate headphone standard later that included the LFE in the mix, then I am simply operating under outdated information and apologize for that.

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

The bass management built into AVR DSPs includes the ability to mix LFE into main L/R, and the products using that option handle the analog gain shifts in the programmable volume controls. These same DSPs also know how to downmix 5.1 into stereo without clipping or compression. So the heavy lifting is already available "off the shelf."

It sounds like this problem has been recognized and addressed in newer Dolby Digital decoding products. However, I would assume that this is exclusively used in "all-in-one" products that only have stereo speakers, and not in separately available surround receivers and/or processors.

The question is whether this is the case with a source product, specifically the Oppo BDP-83 that we are using at the core of our player. Based on the (admittedly older) version of the Dolby Licensee Manual, it would appear that this is not the case. However, it is possible that the LFE channel *is* included in the stereo mixdown. I am currently making inquiries to ascertain how the LFE channel is handled in that product.

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

BTW, the LFE on/off jump would only be about 5 dB, not 10. When LFE is shared by two outputs, the level needs to be reduced to maintain the same effect. THX and Dolby empirically found that a 4.5 dB attenuation was about right in typical consumer rooms. So the LFE is normally mixed into L/R at +5.5 dB.

We are off by 1 dB because you rounded down, while I rounded up. It would be much easier to attenuate the mains by 6 dB than 5.5 dB, as the former simply requires that the data be shifted by one bit, while the latter requires multiplication of the data by a coefficient.

But I think you have overlooked the fact that when the mains are mixed with the LFE that the overall level will be increased. To avoid clipping, the levels must be reduced even further. A worst case would be 6 dB if the identical signal with the identical phase were present in both the main channel and the LFE channel. This is an extreme case, but it would be prudent to allow at least 3 or 4 dB of headroom to avoid digital clipping when the signals are added. So by my calculations the gain shift would need to be 9 or 10 dB.

Again, if I could turn back the hands of time, I would change the disparate levels in the LFE channel. Along with the change in the frame rate of 1000/1001 when color TV was introduced. I'm not so sure that there was a better choice for stereo FM than the multiplex system that was adopted. What would you have done instead?

And thank you for your participation in this thread!
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post #123 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 01:32 PM
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Quote:


Dolby specifies the mixdown coefficients that must be used. All 5 channels are mixed in according to the following formula:

L' = L + clev*C + slev*Ls
R' = R + clev*C + slev*Rs

Quote:


As to post-decode processing, if you make a multichannel product Dolby basically says that as long as the product meets the stated functional requirements, any other post-processing can be bolted on, as long as the consumer can switch it off if so desired.

Thanks Charles and Roger for the info.

I have a bizarre system and I am wondering how practical it would be to implement the following scenario in your downmixing scheme.

Currently I use full range L/R fronts, indentical L/R rears, dipole L/R sides crossed at 60Hz with the low pass mixed into the Rears, and a dedicated LFE sub in my 20x40' room. I added on the sides and rears to my existing stereo system. I use all outboard dacs and outboard analog volume controls with the latter right next to the outboard mono amps.

I use your DX7e (SDI) for DVD, the Oppo for BD, and Dish sat receiver. The processor is a Meridian HD621/568.2mm combo. The 568.2mm receives only audio signals as the HD621 separates audio from video for BD.

Here is what I thought of doing with the DX7e (but now I see that it really won't work) since it has two digital audio outs: with the first out send the full DD signal to the Meridian and use the Meridian to feed the Sides, Rears, and LFE. With the second out send the downmixed L/R directly to the L/R dacs, avoiding the Meridian. I don't need to worry about L/R distances since they are slightly farther away than the Sides and Rears and I can use the Meridian to delay the Sides and Rears.

The problem as I see it with the DX7e is that the Rears and Sides are mixed into the Fronts when I use the downmixed digital out and I don't imagine there is anyway around this. As mentioned for DD 1.0 and 2.0 I do use this direct method which I think is an improvement.

Now I am finally to my point. With the DX5 would it possible to provide on the S/PDIF out just the L/R signals from a BD disc with no downmixing?
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post #124 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 01:34 PM
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As a more general question, will the HDMI audio out be a decoded audio signal or bitstream?
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post #125 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Dolby does define downmixing, some different flavors depending on the purpose. One is to create a surround compatible signal suitable for surround decoding. Back when Dolby Digital first arrived, the only products able to do surround decoding used Pro Logic or the like. This was a way to feed them prior to S/PDIF and 5.1 onboard decoding took over. Not very important anymore.

Another downmix is for stereo playback, as for headphones. That is the downmix you described above. Most DVD players offer the user a choice of surround or stereo downmixing.

More recently, Dolby introduced expanded downmixing for DD+ bitstreams, which allows the embedded coefficients to define how LFE is to be included. It also allows a way to encode the 2-ch signal optimally for PLII decoding, with stereo surrounds.

Lastly, we have the downmixing for TrueHD, which is the most flexible of all--any source channel can go to any output, at any level, at any polarity.

Yes, all of the above downmixing coefficients are defined by the content maker, and all of these downmixes are performed in the "codec" domain.

As to post-decode processing, if you make a multichannel product Dolby basically says that as long as the product meets the stated functional requirements, any other post-processing can be bolted on, as long as the consumer can switch it off if so desired. That's why you see things like Neo:6, Neural, THX, Audyssey xyz, etc., processing DD/DTHD signals. This is how you'd be free to build a downmixer/bass manager as you desire, with LFE mixed in.

This is exactly why we never made a surround-sound processor!

The standards were (and still are) such a moving target that it is impossible for a company such as ours to compete in that market. It is designed around a model of planned obsolescence. This serves the mid-fi manufacturers well, as they can sell new products to their old customers every few years.

Theta is the only company that managed to make a processor that was more-or-less upgradeable. The Casablanca has been in production for over ten years, I believe. I think the upgrades have been expensive and difficult to implement, but at least they didn't require the customer to discard the old product to buy a new product.

We are already seeing this cycle of consumerism accelerating. Now that 1080p video has become "standard, they are already dreaming up ways to sell you something new. 3-D video seems to be inevitable. It's the old concept of "creating a demand".

Human beings have been around in our present physical form for around a half-million years. Then about 50,000 years ago a small but important change occurred in our brains when language was developed. For 45,000 years things were fairly constant. Story-telling and song were probably in use. Then 5,000 years ago agriculture and writing were invented.

For 5,000 years books and plays augmented story-telling. Then 100 years ago movies were invented. The changes are now occurring more and more rapidly. Most of them seemed to be aimed at making money by satiating the boredom and empty spaces in peoples lives. When will it stop? When will you be happy with your home theater? Do you need a couch vibrator? Will deep color make you any happier? HDMI 1.4 anyone?
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post #126 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGA View Post

Now I am finally to my point. With the DX5 would it possible to provide on the S/PDIF out just the L/R signals from a BD disc with no downmixing?

Anything is possible, but the problem becomes how to implement it in a way that makes sense.

In this particular case, I think that perhaps a better approach would be to add a switch that allows selecting the analog outputs to use just the front L&R signals rather than a mixdown. The DAC's inside the player are going to sound better than any external DAC costing less than $50,000.

Again, the problem is the user interface. We would need to add a way to activate this feature, either on the front panel or the remote (or both). And we would also need to include an indicator so that the user would know what mode was in use.

But this scenario seems plausible enough that we'll have to figure out if there is a way to include this option. Let us ponder and confer and get back to you...
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post #127 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

As a more general question, will the HDMI audio out be a decoded audio signal or bitstream?

The video output will have your choice of a bitstream or a decoded PCM signal, as selected via the on-screen menus.

The audio-only HDMI output will only have decoded PCM (or DSD, when playing multi-channel SACD's). But the Oppo "engine" will decode all existing formats, so this shouldn't be a limitation.
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post #128 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 02:23 PM
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This is a follow-up to your previous request to add the option for a dedicated front L&R instead of a stereo mixdown.

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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

I use all outboard dacs and outboard analog volume controls with the latter right next to the outboard mono amps.

The problem I see with adding this feature is an easy way for the customer to synchronize the volume levels of the front channels from (say) analog outputs with the volume levels of the rest of the channels from the HDMI output.

It seems that it would be possible to do so, but not easy. How do you do it with your system?

Thanks!
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post #129 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 04:45 PM
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The problem I see with adding this feature is an easy way for the customer to synchronize the volume levels of the front channels from (say) analog outputs with the volume levels of the rest of the channels from the HDMI output.

I use the Placette active preamp as my source preamp. It is a zero gain active preamp and has tremendous drive ability to drive a signal (10 ohm output impedance), etc. I use 8m interconnects to my L/R and 45' interconnects to my Side and Rear amps. I run the preamp volume control wide open, which actually bypasses the the volume control and has zero gain. By running full gain I maximize the S/N ratio delivered to the amps. The Placette is one of the few preamps to lift grounds on non-selected inputs and does not connect to the safety (third prong) AC ground.

For the actual volume control I use five two-channel Placette Remote Volume Controls (RVC). They are placed close to the mono block amps for the Fronts, Sides, Rears, and LFE sub. The RVCs are a passive preamp using Vishay resistors and have a constant input impedance and some 120 steps in the volume control. They can be controlled by IR remote control. I use a Xantech IR receiver and control block which relays the command to all five RVCs, which keeps the volume levels in sync.

Another elegant solution, but not for all tastes, is from a company called TAP in Canada. They use transformer volume controls which can be hooked together by fiber optic cabel for purposes of remote control. Neat concept since you stay off the AC grid, which the passive Placette RVCs do also.

The general principle that you might be looking for is that you want individual dedicated volume controls that can be placed by the amps and connected together for control purposes by remote control.

Couple of misc points. My Meridian 568.2mm is 10 years old but because of the HD621 is still not obsolete. Their 861 flagship is just as old but has been fully upgradable. The only thing it can't do right now is 7.1 discrete but that is coming.

Meridian also believes in not suppling processors with a video signal. The HD621 separates the video and audio and sends the video to the pj and the audio to the processor. Meridian also uses a hybrid analog/digital volume control.

Any thoughts on whether the the DX5 will be better than the DX7e for DVDs? I run SDI out of the DX7e into a Lumagen XD scaler which I also use for video switching.
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post #130 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

I use the Placette active preamp as my source preamp.

That's a great solution. I'm still weighing the pros and cons. I don't want to add a feature that literally only a handful of our customers will use or want.

It just seems that, in general, it would be difficult to match the volume settings of two different preamps and/or processors. The real solution would be if somebody made a really good sounding SSP. Then you wouldn't need to make a "Frankenstein" hybrid....

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Any thoughts on whether the the DX5 will be better than the DX7e for DVDs? I run SDI out of the DX7e into a Lumagen XD scaler which I also use for video switching.

One thing that is brilliant about the Oppo platform was their choice of the ABT2010 scaling chip. We've worked with the DVDO team from the very beginning, and I truly believe that they are the "best and brightest" group out there. The ABT2010 provides the same level of performance as their top line VP-50 Pro scaler, but just without the incredible level of flexibility that it offers (such as custom resolutions for those early plasma screens). I've been out of the video world for a long time, so I don't know how the processing of the Lumagen compares but would be somewhat surprised if it bettered the ABT chip. YMMV....
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post #131 of 1442 Old 11-14-2009, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I would have preferred first of all to simply use the same levels for the bass channels as the rest of them. If they needed more bass output to keep up with the greater number of normal channels, they could have simply paralleled additional bass drivers for only a fractional increase in the overall cost of the system.

I'm not understanding what you mean. Whether one uses multiple subs, or uses one sub and just turns up the gain on the sub's amp, one gets more bass into the room. Aren't these are the same thing conceptually?

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Turning to DVD and home theater, I would argue that it would have been less painful to nip the problem in the bud rather than allow it to continue growing. If I were king, I would have standardized the output levels and required that the soundtracks be remixed, if necessary.

It may be small consolation, but I fought to mix LFE into the mains to avoid all this mess, before DD was launched in consumer formats. Needless to say, I lost that one.

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If we are to believe the posters in this thread, there are many discs where enough of the bass is redirected to the LFE channel that a two-channel mixdown is unsatisfying. I don't know what Dolby's requirements are in this regard, but it would seem that either they are insufficient or else that there are mixdown engineers that violate them.

I have no doubt in these reports, and I agree it can be unsatisfying to lose the LFE. Dolby has no requirements whatsoever on how mixers use the 5.1 format.

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In Dolby's defense I must say that when we were in the process of obtaining a license (which we never completed), we had several conversations (including some with Roger, I believe!) asking if we could do things outside the rules of the manual. The answer was always very positive, and if we could make a good case for something it was well received.

Whew!

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But my statement comes directly from the Dolby Licensee Manual, Issue 5. In the chapter on product design, section 4.5.7 "Downmixing" states:

What Happens to the LFE Channel?
The LFE channel is not included in any of the standard downmix equations. In a product with only two output channels, the LFE channel will simply be omitted.

It seems pretty cut-and-dry here. I suppose that we could have asked for an exception, and perhaps it would have been granted. But it is clear that the vast majority of all Dolby-approved products discard the LFE information in a two-channel output.

The manual is correctly describing how a DD downmixer works. It does not say how a 5.1 decoder with a custom downmixer works, since Dolby does not design or license those.

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That issue of the Manual also states that the same is true for the headphone outputs. If Dolby introduced a separate headphone standard later that included the LFE in the mix, then I am simply operating under outdated information and apologize for that. It sounds like this problem has been recognized and addressed in newer Dolby Digital decoding products. However, I would assume that this is exclusively used in "all-in-one" products that only have stereo speakers, and not in separately available surround receivers and/or processors.

Dolby does not distinguish its requirements based on the packaging; an HTIB is treated the same as an AVR or an AV processor. Yes, when Dolby Headphone was introduced, I made sure that LFE was included.

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The question is whether this is the case with a source product, specifically the Oppo BDP-83 that we are using at the core of our player. Based on the (admittedly older) version of the Dolby Licensee Manual, it would appear that this is not the case. However, it is possible that the LFE channel *is* included in the stereo mixdown. I am currently making inquiries to ascertain how the LFE channel is handled in that product.

Correct, Dolby never described how to make a 2-ch downmix with LFE. As I mentioned elsewhere, AVR chips know how to do it for 5.0 output, but whether their executive code allows that to work in 2.0 mode has to be investigated. And of course whether the Oppo chip's bass management can do it at all is another matter. In a 2-ch processor with master volume it's easy to shift the levels to maintain the same listening level. In a player it's harder, since they are not usually allowed to output 6v, but more like 2v. Not a problem in your case, though.

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But I think you have overlooked the fact that when the mains are mixed with the LFE that the overall level will be increased. To avoid clipping, the levels must be reduced even further. A worst case would be 6 dB if the identical signal with the identical phase were present in both the main channel and the LFE channel. This is an extreme case, but it would be prudent to allow at least 3 or 4 dB of headroom to avoid digital clipping when the signals are added. So by my calculations the gain shift would need to be 9 or 10 dB.

Quite rightmy mistake. Yes, to get the L/R summed with a signal 6 dB louder means 1+2=3=10dB.

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Again, if I could turn back the hands of time, I would change the disparate levels in the LFE channel. Along with the change in the frame rate of 1000/1001 when color TV was introduced. I'm not so sure that there was a better choice for stereo FM than the multiplex system that was adopted. What would you have done instead?

If color TV did not have to be backward compatible with B&W sets, and if stereo FM did not have to be compatible with mono FM tuners, they could have been designed to avoid the compromises caused by multiplexing subcarriers.

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And thank you for your participation in this thread!

Thank you for that, and for your good natured comments. If I may be of any help, please let me know.
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post #132 of 1442 Old 11-15-2009, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Whether one uses multiple subs, or uses one sub and just turns up the gain on the sub's amp, one gets more bass into the room. Aren't these are the same thing conceptually?

Yes, but with multiple subs, the need for differing gain levels disappears. Again, at the time there was no need for such a system. It was only years later that the problems showed up.

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It may be small consolation, but I fought to mix LFE into the mains to avoid all this mess, before DD was launched in consumer formats. Needless to say, I lost that one.

OK -- it's official -- you are my hero!!

What happened? Who was in "charge" that made the wrong decision? What was their rationale? (Presumably it would have required a re-mixing of all of the theatrical releases that used the LFE channel.)

Are you still with Dolby, or have you retired now?

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I have no doubt in these reports, and I agree it can be unsatisfying to lose the LFE. Dolby has no requirements whatsoever on how mixers use the 5.1 format.

It seems like they should at least have some recommendations!

After all, the system is designed to work a specific way, but can only do so properly when the source material is mixed in a specific way.

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Whew!

For about a year we were pretty focused on building a processor. The problem was that we didn't have anyone on our staff that could do all of the user interface programming. Every time we hired a consultant, something would happen. Our best one dropped out when she got pregnant with her first child.

But all during that time, I would run into things that didn't seem right. Then I would contact Roger and he was extremely open. He would say "Sure, that makes sense. I'm sure that we can get an exception approved for that." So I'm sure that if we had presented a case for LFE in the mixdown we could have gotten that approved.

At the same time, I doubt there are many products that do include this feature, largely because the Manual makes it seem like "This is the world according to Dolby!" and there are 300+ pages of "Thou shalt do such and such..."

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The manual is correctly describing how a DD downmixer works. It does not say how a 5.1 decoder with a custom downmixer works, since Dolby does not design or license those.

When we were working on our product, our thinking was that we needed to make sure that we complied with both the Dolby and DTS Manuals. It never occurred to us that we could include some other functionality directly affecting those processes without violating the Manuals.

In other words, I don't recall the Dolby Manual ever mentioning tone controls. So of course we figured that we could include any kind of tone control (or none at all). But for functions that directly impacted the Dolby decoding process, the implicit assumption was that there was a 300+ page book that spelled out all the details. We took it to be similar to, say, the HDMI standard or the S/PDIF standard where one had to follow all of the rules very carefully and with no variations. Apparently that was a bad assumption on our part.

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Dolby does not distinguish its requirements based on the packaging; an HTIB is treated the same as an AVR or an AV processor. Yes, when Dolby Headphone was introduced, I made sure that LFE was included.

Good for you. Either your power had increased since the time of the earlier decision, or else the obstructionists had been "disposed of"!

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

And of course whether the Oppo chip's bass management can do it at all is another matter. In a 2-ch processor with master volume it's easy to shift the levels to maintain the same listening level. In a player it's harder, since they are not usually allowed to output 6v, but more like 2v. Not a problem in your case, though.

Even though we could choose to output 6 volts (single-ended!) as we are not officially Dolby licensees, I would never do that. That causes more problems than the LFE level difference does!

Some Theta and Wadia products worked that way. They believed that it made their products sound "more dynamic". But it was a giant nightmare for everyone else, and very difficult to integrate with other components.

But I can see how using this feature in a source component will cause problems for all but the most advanced users. It will inevitably lead to perceived volume shifts as the feature is engaged and disengaged. The only way to avoid that would be to integrate it with the component that is controlling the volume of the system.

We can do that with our AyreLink communication system, but the only AyreLink preamp at the present is our top-of-the-line KX-R. However, there will be more in the future.

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Quite rightmy mistake. Yes, to get the L/R summed with a signal 6 dB louder means 1+2=3=10dB.

Well, I've never made a mistake. Especially not in this Forum...

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

If color TV did not have to be backward compatible with B&W sets, and if stereo FM did not have to be compatible with mono FM tuners, they could have been designed to avoid the compromises caused by multiplexing subcarriers.

I think that the biggest disaster of the color TV system was the change in frame rate from 60 to 59.97 Hz. All of the other problems have basically gone away over time, but that one is still with us.

Same with the decision to use 48 kHz sampling for professional digital audio, but 44.1 kHz sampling for consumer digital audio. What a pain in the keester!

But what system would have been better for FM stereo? I don't think there were many compromises. I suppose that the modulation strength had to be reduced, thereby lowering the effective broadcasting range. But they also ate up much of the bandwidth with the now obsolete SCA system that provided commercial-free background music for a fee. (This was before Muzak was invented!) I believe the center frequency for the SCA system sub-carrier was 67 kHz.

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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Thank you for that, and for your good natured comments. If I may be of any help, please let me know.

For those who don't know, Roger is one of the "good guys" in the industry. Always a true gentleman and also extremely knowledgeable, as well as a tireless advocate for Dolby. I only wish that you had won your early battle to include the LFE channel into the mains...

Continued success with whatever path life takes you on. And the photos of your theater were (as they say in the UK) gob-smacking! That is really tremendous. It was hard to believe that it was all done in a relatively small space. Now, if we could just get some Ayre electronics into the system, I think it would be just about perfect!
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post #133 of 1442 Old 11-15-2009, 11:22 AM
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Yes, but with multiple subs, the need for differing gain levels disappears. Again, at the time there was no need for such a system. It was only years later that the problems showed up.

I think this matter is best resolved with a continued discussion over an adult beverage.

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OK -- it's official -- you are my hero!!

What happened? Who was in "charge" that made the wrong decision? What was their rationale? (Presumably it would have required a re-mixing of all of the theatrical releases that used the LFE channel.)

The "film folks" in our Burbank office were against any hint of re-interpreting the original soundtrack. Not because they didn't like or understand the issues, but because they were longtime members of the Hollywood film community, and were acutely aware of the technopolitics at play on a daily basis.

The Hollywood mantra is that once the content is created, it must not be modified in any way, but merely delivered intact. Dolby as you may recall was extremely focused on "preserving the original intention of the artist" as its founding principle. Requiring the studios to go into a post-production facility to remix the track to integrate LFE into the mix would have been heretical, let alone costly. The film makers in the early 1990s were loath to do anything to help the home theater concept unseat theatrical revenues. It was only after DVD took hold that movies routinely visited post houses for cleanup and home use optimization (read: no need for re-EQ). Even the earliest supporters of Laser Disc, such as Paramount, did all they could to ensure a high quality transfer for home video, but there was a bright clear line they would not cross when it came to "fixing" even the slightest thing in the soundtrack for fear that the wrath of the original producers would come down on all involved.

I was resoundingly "informed" of these realities and moved on to developing bass management!

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Are you still with Dolby, or have you retired now?

Retired last year. Hence more time to haunt the forums.

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It seems like they should at least have some recommendations! After all, the system is designed to work a specific way, but can only do so properly when the source material is mixed in a specific way.

In my presentation at an AES workshop on 5.1 music production, I made the case for 5.0 mixing, to avoid the LFE channel altogether, and do as one has always done in even the most bass-laden CDs -- keep the bass in the main channels. Avoid the various filter phase shifts and all the rest that can impinge upon sonic purity in music productions. Save the LFE for 1812's canons.
At one point I was able to convince a well-reputed music mixer, working on 5.1 DVD-A projects, and he agreed it made sense, confirming it worked perfectly in his own studio. Even he eventually succumbed to the siren call to feed the LFE channel. There was an industry phobia that could not be overcome, no matter what we said: If they didn't put a signal into the LFE channel, the subwoofers would not light up--and that the phones then would. They simply could not believe bass management was available in every AV system that needed it.

In the end, we can only give the canvas and paint to the artist and let them do as they will with it.

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At the same time, I doubt there are many products that do include this feature, largely because the Manual makes it seem like "This is the world according to Dolby!" and there are 300+ pages of "Thou shalt do such and such..."

Quite so. And in those days, the 5.1 satellite/subwoofer solution reigned supreme, as it still does today. There was simply nothing on the radar about needing to downmix to 2-ch with LFE. It was not actively prevented, but simply ignored.

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Even though we could choose to output 6 volts (single-ended!) as we are not officially Dolby licensees, I would never do that. That causes more problems than the LFE level difference does! Some Theta and Wadia products worked that way. They believed that it made their products sound "more dynamic". But it was a giant nightmare for everyone else, and very difficult to integrate with other components.

Dolby does not dictate hardware interfaces. There is a cartel in Japan that does that. Seriously. For exactly the reasons you citethe nightmares it can cause. Even so, there has been some spec creep in the 2.0v line output standard. 2.05v, 2.1v outputs and such.

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But what system would have been better for FM stereo? I don't think there were many compromises. I suppose that the modulation strength had to be reduced, thereby lowering the effective broadcasting range.

Using the stereo subcarrier to carry the L-R signal reduced the S/N and reduced reception quality under adverse conditions. That's why when things get dicey, it falls back to mono. It could have been done such that both channels were as robust as the mono component, but that would have been incompatible with existing radios, and with existing broadcast bandwidth allocations. Our "clean sheet" knows no bounds, though.

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Continued success with whatever path life takes you on. And the photos of your theater were (as they say in the UK) gob-smacking! That is really tremendous. It was hard to believe that it was all done in a relatively small space. Now, if we could just get some Ayre electronics into the system, I think it would be just about perfect!

Where's the I'm tipping my hat reverently as I step back emoticon when I need it!
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post #134 of 1442 Old 11-15-2009, 09:45 PM
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How can I get into a forum flame war with someone who is so darned reasonable???

Thanks very much for the "story behind the story". I can see that there really was no other choice at the time. And who could have predicted that DVD would have been such a massive success? (And actually, probably the only thing that kept it from flopping like LaserDisc was Warren Lieberfarb, the man that insisted that discs sell for only $20!)

I think that we will include a feature to mix in the LFE, even though it will cause an 8 to 10 dB shift in output levels. After all, our customer base is a bit more sophisticated than the average buyer of consumer electronics!

And if we ever do finish getting our Dolby license, I'll have to say that I'm very sorry that you have retired. I would have enjoyed spending more time with you. I'll have to pass on your invitation for a drink (and perhaps a movie at the "Deadwood Theater"!). I was in a bad accident a few years ago that left me paralyzed and in a wheelchair. I don't travel any more. But if you ever come out to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fair (or anywhere in the Denver area), be sure to let me know and I will make a point of getting together with you.

Again, thank you for your patience and your illuminating explanations!
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post #135 of 1442 Old 11-15-2009, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

I don't travel any more. But if you ever come out to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fair (or anywhere in the Denver area), be sure to let me know and I will make a point of getting together with you.

Again, thank you for your patience and your illuminating explanations!

You're very kind. I look forward to a visit to CO.

My old friend Jim Fosgate (inventor of PLII) was telling me of his recent visit to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fair where he introduced his latest creation, a tube phono preamp that only took 129 hand-built prototypes to refine. I think you and Jim would be good friends, as you both exhibit a true desire to wring the best performance possible from whatever you create. It's a real kick using a tube phono front end into a DSP surround processor, but it works magnificently!

Oops, I may have just ignited my own flame war--surround processing vinyl!

Some pix of his creation and himself posted here.
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post #136 of 1442 Old 11-16-2009, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

My old friend Jim Fosgate (inventor of PLII) was telling me of his recent visit to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fair where he introduced his latest creation, a tube phono preamp that only took 129 hand-built prototypes to refine. I think you and Jim would be good friends, as you both exhibit a true desire to wring the best performance possible from whatever you create. It's a real kick using a tube phono front end into a DSP surround processor, but it works magnificently!

Jim did a beautiful job with that unit! I'm sure that it sounded fantastic, too. He had some tough competition in that room, as Musical Surroundings also distributes the Aesthetix line of tube gear, and they make two exceptional sounding phono stages. I'm sure that Michael Fremer (pictured with Jim) enjoyed the room very much!

At one time, I believe that Jim built an all-tube version of a ProLogic II decoder! I don't know how many were sold, but I bet that would make for a nice sounding system! I'm still just a Luddite with an HT 2.0 system...

Cheers,
Charles Hansen
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post #137 of 1442 Old 11-20-2009, 04:12 AM
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Sorry to bother you Charles, but I have another request. I have the KX-R and MX-R's and am waiting for the DX-5. I do not use the equipment every day and like many in tropical climates I turn everything off when not in use.

The remote can turn off the preamp but will not turn off the amps. One may argue that the equipment should all be left on but for those of us who only use thing infrequently it all goes off. I still have to walk up the the amps and turn them off or go to the preamp and hold the off button to turn everything off.

It seems that since the amps are only connected to one source and if the person is one who turns off the equipment, there should be a way to use the remote to turn off everything. Maybe the DX-5 controller or somehow the KX-R controller should be able to program everything to go off.

With the DX-5. KX-R and MX-R system, that does it all, there should be a way to remotely turn the whole thing off.

Thanks,

aehaas
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post #138 of 1442 Old 11-21-2009, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by aehaas View Post

With the DX-5. KX-R and MX-R system, that does it all, there should be a way to remotely turn the whole thing off.

Yes, it is called "AyreLink". It is similar to some other communications systems used by other manufacturers, but has two significant advantages over other systems:

a) The connections are made with opto-isolators so that there is no possibility of unwanted ground loops that would degrade the performance.

b) Each component has two AyreLink ports. The components may be daisy-chained in any convenient order, using either port on any component. There are no special requirements regarding the order of the connections or anything. It is simply "plug'n'play".

The connections are made with telephone connectors that are extremely common in the US. The connectors are RJ-11, and the cables must be for "two-line" telephone cords (with four internal conductors). In the US, these cables are available in lengths from 6" to 100' and in several colors -- typically black, white, or silver:

http://www.radioshack.com/search/ind...ne%20Cord&sr=1

More information is available in your owner's manual.
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post #139 of 1442 Old 12-03-2009, 08:32 AM
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Will the new DX-5 play multichannel SACDs?
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post #140 of 1442 Old 12-03-2009, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Yes, it is called "AyreLink". It is similar to some other communications systems used by other manufacturers, but has two significant advantages over other systems:

a) The connections are made with opto-isolators so that there is no possibility of unwanted ground loops that would degrade the performance.

b) Each component has two AyreLink ports. The components may be daisy-chained in any convenient order, using either port on any component. There are no special requirements regarding the order of the connections or anything. It is simply "plug'n'play".

The connections are made with telephone connectors that are extremely common in the US. The connectors are RJ-11, and the cables must be for "two-line" telephone cords (with four internal conductors). In the US, these cables are available in lengths from 6" to 100' and in several colors -- typically black, white, or silver:

http://www.radioshack.com/search/ind...ne%20Cord&sr=1

More information is available in your owner's manual.

Those radioshack cables you linked have no directional markings, how will the bits know which way to go?
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post #141 of 1442 Old 12-04-2009, 01:02 AM
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Will the new DX-5 play multichannel SACDs?

Yes. There are only two analog audio outputs, so these will only play the two-channel area. For multi-channel output, you will have to use the HDMI connection with a surround-sound processor or receiver.
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post #142 of 1442 Old 12-04-2009, 01:07 AM
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Those radioshack cables you linked have no directional markings, how will the bits know which way to go?

We do all the work so that you won't have to! We spent a lot of time figuring out how to make the system intelligent so that the components could be connected in any order.

There are four conductors, and each of those cables is what is called a "crossover" cable in the computer world. So the input pair of one end is the output pair of the other and vice-versa. It's a very nice system and the fact that it uses opto-isolators means that you will never have any noise or performance degradation from ground loops.
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post #143 of 1442 Old 12-04-2009, 07:05 AM
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Yes. There are only two analog audio outputs, so these will only play the two-channel area. For multi-channel output, you will have to use the HDMI connection with a surround-sound processor or receiver.

Good news: I have a large multichannel SACD collection. I am truly excited about this product.
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post #144 of 1442 Old 12-06-2009, 03:44 PM
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We don't know yet. We only know when the design is completely finished and we get the quote from the PCB stuffing house. This happens about two weeks before we begin shipments.

Normally we wouldn't announce a product until it was closer to shipping, but there were some quirks in the clocking of the Oppo that delayed things. Then we decided to add a feature. And then another feature. Each of these features should have been simple to implement, but turned out to be a nightmare.

For example, the Audio Rate Control. It's not completely specified in the HDMI standard. So we bought a Pioneer with their "PQLS" system figuring we would fill in the few last missing pieces. But it turns out that the Pioneer doesn't follow the standard. So we spent about a week analyzing how it worked. We will probably include a mode so that it can work with the Pioneer receivers also, but it's just one of those things that makes everything take longer than it should.

But it actually turned out good that we announced it early. We didn't know that Oppo was talking to other companies besides us! So if we hadn't announced it when we did, we would have just looked like copy-cats.

Anyway, it pretty much falls into the "If you have to ask..." category. I'm sure that when all is said and done it is going to be close to ten grand. At that price, what's a few thousand, more or less? But whatever it is, it will be worth it.

Pioneer have a habit of doing that sort of thing. Their PQLS on ILink was about the only implementation of Ilink's rate control that didnt play nice with all others.

With Ayre not bound by the BDA was multiple uncompressed stereo SPDIFs considered?
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post #145 of 1442 Old 12-07-2009, 07:34 AM
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With Ayre not bound by the BDA was multiple uncompressed stereo SPDIFs considered?

We considered it, but about the only SSP's that will take multiple S/PDIF's are the Meridians. We're not sure how many Meridian owners would be interested in an Ayre player. Even if they are, Meridian makes an HDMI-to-S/PDIF converter that should work just fine with our product.

We also discussed making an outboard HDMI-to-multi-channel-analog DAC for those who want the absolute best sound quality. The problem is that there aren't very many multi-channel analog preamps that would be good enough to take full advantage of what we could provide.

The only other thing that makes much sense is to build our own SSP, but that is such a huge project that we're not sure we want to tackle it at this point. The first thing to do is get the Blu-Ray player out and see how well it is received. We were just finishing things up when we came up with a new idea for the power supply regulators. We finished the prototype PCB on Friday, so we should be able to look at the picture this week and see how much of an improvement it made.

It's kind of a gamble for us. On the one hand it is going to be an absolutely stellar product that has the distillation of 17 years of R&D all bound up in one box. On the other hand it combines audio and video in a way that may alienate both audiophiles and videophiles, plus it still has a plastic loading tray (which has absolutely no bearing on the performance of the unit, but people don't like). So we'll see what happens before we do anything else.

I'd kind of like to make a state-of-the-art video scaler with an optional analog RGB/YPbPr output. I don't know how many CRT owners are still out there, but we could make something today that would be jaw-droppingly good. I just don't want to spend six months designing a product and then sell 3 per month...
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post #146 of 1442 Old 12-07-2009, 08:22 AM
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We considered it, but about the only SSP's that will take multiple S/PDIF's are the Meridians. We're not sure how many Meridian owners would be interested in an Ayre player.

I know one.

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We also discussed making an outboard HDMI-to-multi-channel-analog DAC for those who want the absolute best sound quality. The problem is that there aren't very many multi-channel analog preamps that would be good enough to take full advantage of what we could provide.

Part of the reason is that there have been so few mch players that would justify them. OTOH, this raises the issues of bass-management/distance adjustments which are usually accomplished in the player (but not for HDMI output) or in a digital processor. Another can of worms.

Kal Rubinson

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http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #147 of 1442 Old 12-07-2009, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
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We considered it, but about the only SSP's that will take multiple S/PDIF's are the Meridians. We're not sure how many Meridian owners would be interested in an Ayre player. Even if they are, Meridian makes an HDMI-to-S/PDIF converter that should work just fine with our product.

Meridian's HD621 manual states the Smartlink outputs are MHR encrypted, so probably a no-go for anything other than a Meridian processor. As I understand it, it's also a no-go for any HDMI-equipped device to output hi-res PCM in the clear.
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post #148 of 1442 Old 12-07-2009, 12:42 PM
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The Meridian prepros will work with unencrypted 5.1 over 3 SPDIFs. A chap on the MeridianUnplugged forum sold quite a few modified Bluray players to lots of happy owners (Much chepaer than the Meridian convertor).

I think TACT and Denon made equipment with multi spdif digital inputs too.

TACT, DCS and Esoteric still make ILink gear too I think.
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post #149 of 1442 Old 12-07-2009, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Hansen
We considered it, but about the only SSP's that will take multiple S/PDIF's are the Meridians. We're not sure how many Meridian owners would be interested in an Ayre player.

Posed by Kal:
I know one.

Now you know two and he already has a DX7e!

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Meridian's HD621 manual states the Smartlink outputs are MHR encrypted, so probably a no-go for anything other than a Meridian processor. As I understand it, it's also a no-go for any HDMI-equipped device to output hi-res PCM in the clear.

HDMI hi-res can be sent only MHR. 48/16 can be sent unencrypted. Currently not a problem as I don't know if there are any 48/24 or 96/24 movie BDs yet. Definitely an issue for the future is you want to be state of the art.

I don't think Tact or Denon make prepros with multi-spdif inputs, only Meridian because they have for several years been doing the decoding in their DVD players and thus need 6 digital inputs on their prepros. They created MHR because of DVD-A requirements which can now do double duty and carry encrypted hi-res sourced from HDMI. Tact does have multi-spdif outputs and some older Denons did also.

I had thought a second box for the remaining 5.1 channels would be the way for Ayre to go, but the volume control and speaker setup seem insurmountable problems to solve in any practical way.

As mentioned earlier I do use a Meridian 568.2mm with an Ayre DX7e and Oppo and HD621. I use the digital outs on the 568 to all outboard DACs, volume controls, and crossovers. The 568 only does the decoding and speaker distances.

The DX7e can decode DD. For 1.0 and 2.0 I bypass the 568 completely and send the signals straight to the DAC for an improvement in sound. This is not a knock on Meridian as no box is transparent but I am happy for the improvement.

What I would like to do with the new Ayre is use its DACs to send out L/R directly and its HDMI to connect to the HD621 which would de-encrypt the 5.1 and send it to the 568 for decoding where I would not need the redundant L/R and use only the sides and surround. This works because because I do not use a center channel (nobody in my family but me likes movies, believe it or not, and my system is 2-channel based).

Now if Charles would only put a magic switch on the new Ayre so that L/R would not be mixed in with the rears and LFE when decoded, I would be the first buyer.
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post #150 of 1442 Old 12-07-2009, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
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Currently not a problem as I don't know if there are any 48/24 or 96/24 movie BDs yet. Definitely an issue for the future is you want to be state of the art.

There are >600 BD titles with 48/24 audio.
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