Ayre DX-5 bluray player - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 1442 Old 12-10-2009, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by aehaas View Post

Will the DX-5 split the central channel and put it evenly into the 2 channels of a basic stereo system?

Yes, that is part of the standard mixdown of surround material into stereo. All the surround information is also mixed down as well. The only thing that is left out is the LFE channel, due to its reference level being 10 dB different than all of the other channels.

As previously noted, we will have a way to include this. However activating this feature will require reducing the output level by -10 dB, so don't forget to reduce your volume control when exiting this mode!
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post #182 of 1442 Old 12-10-2009, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

How do you determine if a design change is affecting the jitter? How do you decide you've done all you can to reduce it?

Jitter is an exceedingly difficult thing to measure. There are no standardized ways of measurement when it comes to audio equipment. One method used by Stereophile and Hi-Fi News (UK) is Julian Dunn's JTest method. This was originally designed to measure the jitter in S/PDIF links and nothing else, so it is not all that sensitive in many ways.

To date all of our equipment has been designed simply from first principles. That is, knowing all of the factors that can affect jitter and then minimizing them as much as possible. The results have been confirmed in at least two ways:

a) Stereophile recently did a round-up of all of the players tested since they were loaned the latest Audio Precision analyzer that allows for much better measurements than they performed in the past. The article can be found here:

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

The players are listed in order of increasing performance, and the highest ranked one was our C-5xe (now MP) universal disc player.

b) Our players sound really, really good!

We just bought a used Wavecrest time-interval analyzer. This is the industry standard piece of equipment that is used by all of the crystal manufacturers to characterize their product. They are only $75,000 new, but we got it for about 1/10 that price used plus another $8,000 for calibration, firmware upgrade, and the latest operating software. This will help us to see if there are additional ways to improve our products.

I don't think that we will ever run out of ideas on how to improve our products. It is just like automobiles. They keep getting better and better, even though the basics have been unchanged for 100+ years. Part of it is due to the availability of improved materials and processes, but much of it is due to just figuring out a better way to skin the same old cat. Just as I don't think any automobile maker will ever say, "That's it! This is as good as we can make it. We'll never change it again.", I don't think that Ayre will ever say the same thing about any product that we make. We are always trying to figure out new ways to improve things. Jitter is just one of them.
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post #183 of 1442 Old 12-10-2009, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

Jitter is an exceedingly difficult thing to measure...

Thanks, Chris, for the complete answer. And congratulations on the jitter performance in your players. Stunning achievement. Nicely done.
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post #184 of 1442 Old 12-10-2009, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

No mystery. I originally typed 11 which, with the 5 listed options, adds up to 16. Then I reconsidered that we would need a switch setting that invoked none of the options and edited the number.

Saw no edit notation though. Anyway, back onto more interesting things.

Any guess as to why Theta, Lexicon et al that make players and SSPs aren't implementing the Sony HATS type HDMI jitter reduction? Cost prohibitive somehow? Or simply better ways to accomplish same? Seems an obvious way to add value to and differentiate the player and package.
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post #185 of 1442 Old 12-10-2009, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

The players are listed in order of increasing performance, and the highest ranked one was our C-5xe (now MP) universal disc player.

b) Our players sound really, really good!

Although I'm not in the market for your new DX-5 in my rather mid-fi video system, I do own the C-5xeMP universal player in my separate stereo rig and must say that I am mighty impressed with its sound but am now thinking of getting a computer based music server and the the Ayre QB-9 DAC is on my short list there.

My apologies is this a a little off topic here, but is the Aychronous USB in the QB-9 similar sounding to that of the USB in your new DX-5 BD player? Thanks.
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post #186 of 1442 Old 12-11-2009, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Thanks, Chris, for the complete answer. And congratulations on the jitter performance in your players. Stunning achievement. Nicely done.

Thanks for the kind words. As I noted before, this jitter test is really designed to show the problems introduced by the S/PDIF connection which always adds measurable (and audible) amounts of jitter. It's not really that sensitive of a test.

In the 16-bit format, it has a measurement floor of 120 psec but that is only if the analyzer is up to the job. For many years Stereophile was using a computer-based spectrum analyzer card that couldn't measure much below 200 psec and had spurious noise of its own (probably from the computer's switching power supplies). If a player doesn't measure just about perfectly on this test, there are problems with the player (or the test equipment being used.

The 24-bit version of the test is somewhat more sensitive. The string of harmonics from the toggled LSB is down another 48 dB, which puts them below the noise floor of the best analyzers in the world. At that point, the analyzer is the limiting factor. One of the problems is that this test won't directly measure low-frequency jitter components. They can be seen as a spreading of the base of the central peak, which ideally should be an infinitely narrow spike (but the test equipment will have its own limitations).

More on this in another answer below.
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post #187 of 1442 Old 12-11-2009, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rblnr View Post

Any guess as to why Theta, Lexicon et al that make players and SSPs aren't implementing the Sony HATS type HDMI jitter reduction? Cost prohibitive somehow? Or simply better ways to accomplish same? Seems an obvious way to add value to and differentiate the player and package.

Sony's HATS and Pioneer's PQLS both started life as their names for iLink, which sent encrypted data across a FireWire link. They also reduced jitter by having the master clock in the receiver (sink). A buffer would store the incoming data and a microprocessor would send signals back upstream to the disc player telling to speed up or slow down depending on how full the buffer was.

They have brought this same idea over to HDMI as now iLink is dead, but they haven't changed the name. So a new HATS or PQLS device won't work with an old HATS or PQLS device....

HDMI includes a signaling line called "CEC" for Consumer Electronics Control. There are a bunch of standardized commands so that you can turn your entire system on and off from a single component. CEC also allows for manufacturer-specific commands.

HDMI 1.3a added a feature called "Audio Rate Control" (ARC) that works exactly like the old iLink system and uses standardized commands. We analyzed a Pioneer player/receiver with (the new) PQLS, but they don't use the standard HDMI commands for ARC. So either they implemented their own version before 1.3a was introduced (in 2006, I believe) or else they just wanted to not play nicely with others. We haven't analyzed a Sony, but they are probably the same way.

Lexicon has only ever sold re-badged players that were stock units in a new chassis (sometimes with a few extra minor features) for 3x the price of the base units. The RT-10 was a re-badged Pioneer, the RT-20 was a re-badged Marantz, and the BD-30 is a re-badged Oppo (which is what started this thread). I don't think that Lexicon has any engineers that would know how to implement ARC in a player. They are a surround-sound company, and their other consumer products (amps and disc players) are out-sourced to other companies.

Theta recently announced a Blu-Ray player that is a modified Oppo. The main difference is that they replaced the switching power supply:

http://www.thetadigital.com/compli_blu_info.shtml

It is the same price as the Lexicon so it would seem to be a much better buy (and I think it looks better too, FWIW) although I am puzzled by the statement "starting at" $3000. I don't know why they didn't implement ARC. The old Theta had digital engineers that could have done this type of work, but now they are owned by ATI amplifiers and I don't know who does their digital design work.

Our player will support ARC, so if any SSP manufacturer decides to get on the ball and also support it then a good solution will be available. We may decide to also support Pioneer's PQLS and/or Sony's HATS, depending on the demand. I'm just not sure how many people that are trying to put together a state-of-the art system are going to be using a Pioneer or Sony at the heart of the audio.
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post #188 of 1442 Old 12-11-2009, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Fosse View Post

My apologies is this a a little off topic here, but is the Aychronous USB in the QB-9 similar sounding to that of the USB in your new DX-5 BD player? Thanks.

The Ultra-Audio branch of SoundStage will have a review of the QB-9 online beginning December 15th. They compare the QB-9 against the C-5xeMP and a few other top-rank computer audio products.

The QB-9 and the C-5xe both sound very, very good, although they are a bit different in their presentations. The QB-9 is a bit more lively and energetic, while the C-5xeMP is a tad more refined. The DX-5 combines the best attributes of both and is like a slightly more refined version of the QB-9. But the QB-9 offers about 95% of the sound quality of the DX-5 at around 1/4 of the price (albeit with a much more limited feature set).
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post #189 of 1442 Old 12-11-2009, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rblnr View Post

Any guess as to why Theta, Lexicon et al that make players and SSPs aren't implementing the Sony HATS type HDMI jitter reduction? Cost prohibitive somehow? Or simply better ways to accomplish same? Seems an obvious way to add value to and differentiate the player and package.

This is a follow-up to my previous post. I meant to include some links. Both Stereophile and Hi-Fi News (UK) use the same jitter measurement system, but Hi-Fi News tests a lot of A/V equipment. You can register at their website and download the technical details of their test reports at:

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

But just to give you an idea of how bad standard HDMI is, here is the jitter performance of a Yamaha DSP-Z7 with the S/PDIF input at 48/24:

http://www.milleraudioresearch.com/d...3305219636.png

The jitter is about 500 psec, not particularly good, and that number doesn't even include the low-frequency random jitter that causes the wide base at the bottom of the central peak.

and here is the same product under the same conditions, but with the HDMI input:

http://www.milleraudioresearch.com/d...3305222154.png

Now the jitter is 5x higher at 2500 psec, with many discrete components visible and even worse spreading of the base of the central peak due to low-frequency jitter components.
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post #190 of 1442 Old 12-11-2009, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

This is a follow-up to my previous post. I meant to include some links. Both Stereophile and Hi-Fi News (UK) use the same jitter measurement system, but Hi-Fi News tests a lot of A/V equipment. You can register at their website and download the technical details of their test reports at:

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

But just to give you an idea of how bad standard HDMI is, here is the jitter performance of a Yamaha DSP-Z7 with the S/PDIF input at 48/24:

http://www.milleraudioresearch.com/d...3305219636.png

The jitter is about 500 psec, not particularly good, and that number doesn't even include the low-frequency random jitter that causes the wide base at the bottom of the central peak.

and here is the same product under the same conditions, but with the HDMI input:

http://www.milleraudioresearch.com/d...3305222154.png

Now the jitter is 5x higher at 2500 psec, with many discrete components visible and even worse spreading of the base of the central peak due to low-frequency jitter components.

Isn't HDMI reclocked anyways? Since HDMI supports many asynchronous formats which would require re-clocking, its likely that all formats would be reclocked.
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post #191 of 1442 Old 12-11-2009, 09:49 AM
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Will there be a choice on the DX5 to output SD DVD at 480i in an unprocessed manner over HDMI that would be equivalent to the SDI output on your DX7e player? This would be desirable for those with external scalers.
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post #192 of 1442 Old 12-11-2009, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

But just to give you an idea of how bad standard HDMI is, here is the jitter performance of a Yamaha DSP-Z7 with the S/PDIF input at 48/24:

The jitter is about 500 psec, not particularly good, and that number doesn't even include the low-frequency random jitter that causes the wide base at the bottom of the central peak.

and here is the same product under the same conditions, but with the HDMI input:

Now the jitter is 5x higher at 2500 psec, with many discrete components visible and even worse spreading of the base of the central peak due to low-frequency jitter components.

I does look like the HDMI "sink" product can have a lot of influence on the jitter result. Someone posted a summary of several HFN tests here.
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post #193 of 1442 Old 12-11-2009, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post


e) Front L/R only instead of the mixdown.

Hi Charles,

I can guarantee no one will use this feature because...

A) - for movies - there would be no dialog, since the center channel would be missing!

B) - for music - 9 out of 10 times there is musically relevant material recorded into the center and surround channels that, when missing, makes listening only to the front L & R channels sound completely wrong.

Just my 2 cents.

You are all WEIRDOS! - Sam the Eagle
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post #194 of 1442 Old 12-12-2009, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Stimby View Post

Isn't HDMI reclocked anyways? Since HDMI supports many asynchronous formats which would require re-clocking, its likely that all formats would be reclocked.

There are too many marketing people throwing around words like "reclocked". They don't mean anything in particular. If you were an engineer, then that word has a precise definition, but that definition has nothing to do with how the marketing people use the word.

To "reclock" an incoming signal means that the incoming data is stored in a buffer and there is a local low-jitter master clock that "reclocks" the data out of the buffer so that the jitter is as low as possible.

However, this can only work in one of two ways. Either the speed of the source is matched to the speed of the local low-jitter master clock (as with HDMI's Audio Rate Control or with the old iLink system, both of which require special non-standard equipment that is matched to each other), or the buffer has to be large enough to handle any potential rate mis-match between source and sink.

The second option is annoying for an audio-only system due to the time delay, and unacceptable for a video system due to the lip-sync issues.

When the marketing people say that they "reclock" a signal, they are lying. What actually happens is that there is an adjustable master clock in the sink (receiver) that uses a feedback loop to match its speed to the speed of the incoming data stream. There are two problems with this:

a) An adjustable clock cannot have as low of jitter levels as a fixed clock. Period.

b) These feedback systems can only reduce jitter by filtering it, but can never remove it all. The more jitter in the incoming stream, the more jitter in the outgoing stream. It's that simple. S/PDIF pretty much sucks in that regard, but HDMI is at least 10x worse. All because they designed the connector before they designed the rest of the system!
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post #195 of 1442 Old 12-12-2009, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

Will there be a choice on the DX5 to output SD DVD at 480i in an unprocessed manner over HDMI that would be equivalent to the SDI output on your DX7e player? This would be desirable for those with external scalers.

Yes. Remember that we are using the Oppo BDP-83 "engine", so just look in that owner's manual for most of the core features.

However, I can't think of many (any?) scalers that will have better performance than the ABT2010 chip used in the Oppo. The guys at ABT are the best in the business. This is a case where you will probably get better results by letting the source do the scaling. The only exception would be if you needed a non-standard resolution that the ABT2010 won't supply.
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post #196 of 1442 Old 12-12-2009, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I does look like the HDMI "sink" product can have a lot of influence on the jitter result. Someone posted a summary of several HFN tests here.

Absolutely.

However, there are two ways to get low numbers on these tests:

a) Throw, time, money, and skill and making a highly optimized solution that ekes every ounce of performance from this inherently limited format.

b) Throw in a $8 Asynchronous Sample Rate Converter chip. It will make the worst sources and receivers in the world measure "perfectly". However, the sonic results are debatable.

An ASRC chip literally throws out the original data and makes up new data that it thinks would be there if there were no jitter. The formula it uses to do this is called an "algorithm", which is a very impressive sounding word. The results are variable at best, and this is not an approach that I would ever use. The very idea of throwing away the original data just seems wrong-headed to me.

This is especially true when there are better ways of achieving the same goal. Since 2006, HDMI 1.3a has included Audio Rate Control as part of the specification. There is no reason not to implement this. It is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to ensure extremely low jitter values while preserving the original data.
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post #197 of 1442 Old 12-12-2009, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dicey View Post

I can guarantee no one will use this feature because...

Actually, the idea would be to send the L/R signals to your speakers using the ultra-high quality analog outputs from our player, and then use an HDMI connection to get the rest of the channels.

The basic idea is a good one, but the problem is synchronizing the volume levels between the stereo system and the surround system. One of the posters in this thread has a system that would allow for this, but I think he is literally one out of a thousand in this regard.
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post #198 of 1442 Old 12-23-2009, 02:57 AM
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Dear Mr. Hansen,

I read through the entire thread, and I thank you for your lengthy explanations. They formed a very interesting read. I am not sure whether this thread is still monitored by you, but I do have a question left about the player's multichannel capabilities.

With prices as they are in high-end land, I believe in doing things once, and doing them right. I don't keep "tweaking" or changing my system, replacing a component every year just because I "grew bored" with the sound. If I invest 10.000 euros in a component (I'm from the Netherlands, so I think in euros...), I expect it to last a very long time. Thus, when the time came to upgrade my stereo-system to surround (for both movies and SACD), I got a TAG McLaren 192R processor (which is in my opinion still one of the best sounding SSP's ever - of course, I'm more than a bit biased, ), and I don't plan on getting rid of it any time soon.

This type of investment comes with a price, certainly in surround-land. It was already mentioned before: you don't get all the latest gizmos. In my case, this means no HDMI. Fortunately, there is a solution: multichannel analog input. So e.g. for SACD, I just go analog 6-channels to my processor, and (almost) all is well.

A lot of the "analog output" discussion in this thread so far has focussed on "mixing" the center and/or LFE-channel into the two-channel output. This is all good for movies maybe, but I also want to enjoy my audio discs in the highest quality possible. And for that, there is really no substitute for multi-channel SACD (not even the current high-res downloads, since they all suffer from being merely two-channel). Therefore my question: what is an owner of an "outdated" SSP to do if he wants to go the universal way with your announced player? To get the Blu Ray sound, I suppose I could get the player to decode DTS HD to "standard" DTS, and output it through the S/PDIF, albeit already with a serious loss of quality. However, it seems impossible to get SACD from your player in my situation.

I understand your design choice for the two-channel analog board "the Ayre-way", but wouldn't it have been possible to offer the other channels in single-ended only as analog outputs? I have never seen a balanced multi-channel input on any processor anyway. I understand that this would mean a loss in quality w.r.t. the two-channel output, but it would mean a very large increase in functionality, thus expanding your potential customer-base quite largely, in my view. (Whether that is actually the case, I of course can judge far less accurately than you).

In a two-channel system (or a surround system with a separate stereo pre-amp with HT-pass through), the two channel balanced output can then be used for the maximum in quality when playing CD's or computer files. The owners of a "new" processor can choose between using the HDMI- or the analog multi-out (depending on what gives the best sonic results). And owners of an older SSP can still incorporate this potentially wonderful product into their system.

I have been a fan of Ayre for quite some time now (and in my time working as a retailer, sold my fair portion of it to very satisfied customers). I have been hoping for a true universal player from Ayre from even before the advent of Blu Ray, since I thought it to be the most crucial element lacking in your product line-up. Now that you finally appear to have come up with one, it seems like it still won't fit in my system. Imagine my disappointment! I hope that you still lurk around on this forum, spot the revived old thread, and will be able to share us your thoughts on this.
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post #199 of 1442 Old 12-23-2009, 06:17 AM
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Lexicon has only ever sold re-badged players that were stock units in a new chassis (sometimes with a few extra minor features) for 3x the price of the base units. The RT-10 was a re-badged Pioneer, the RT-20 was a re-badged Marantz, and the BD-30 is a re-badged Oppo (which is what started this thread). I don't think that Lexicon has any engineers that would know how to implement ARC in a player. They are a surround-sound company, and their other consumer products (amps and disc players) are out-sourced to other companies.

Theta recently announed a Blu-Ray player that is a modified Oppo. The main difference is that they replaced the switching power supply:

http://www.thetadigital.com/compli_blu_info.shtml

It is the same price as the Lexicon so it would seem to be a much better buy (and I think it looks better too, FWIW) although I am puzzled by the statement "starting at" $3000. I don't know why they didn't implement ARC. The old Theta had digital engineers that could have done this type of work, but now they are owned by ATI amplifiers and I don't know who does their digital design work.

Our player will support ARC, so if any SSP manufacturer decides to get on the ball and also support it then a good solution will be available. We may decide to also support Pioneer's PQLS and/or Sony's HATS, depending on the demand. I'm just not sure how many people that are trying to put together a state-of-the art system are going to be using a Pioneer or Sony at the heart of the audio.

Sounds like ARC isn't prohibitive to implement, which makes its lack of inclusion by companies like Theta a real head scratcher. Maybe their market is mainly customers who buy what the installer says -- less discerning than this crowd. Or b) they don't have the digital horsepower to implement, your point about Lexicon. Reading tea leaves, seems that Dave Reich, Theta's lead engineer is primarily an analog circuit/power supply guy, and Momentum Data Systems is handling software for the CBIII. Don't know where this leaves Theta in terms of digital brain trust, although they did update the Gen VIII DAC under the new regime w/new filters and firmware.

Meridian was smart enough in the past to give their players some added value. They decoded DD/DTS at the source which allowed upsampling of soundtracks in the processor, among other things. Also some ergonomic improvement by going M w/the player and processor. Frustrating that no high end company is running w/ARC which seems a legit. benefit and market differentiator. Anytime you want to resurrect your processor plans, lemme know.
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post #200 of 1442 Old 12-24-2009, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dtjv View Post

Therefore my question: what is an owner of an "outdated" SSP to do if he wants to go the universal way with your announced player? To get the Blu Ray sound, I suppose I could get the player to decode DTS HD to "standard" DTS, and output it through the S/PDIF, albeit already with a serious loss of quality. However, it seems impossible to get SACD from your player in my situation.

Thanks for your interest in our forthcoming product.

Unfortunately, you are caught in the dilemma that has been created by the giant consumer electronics companies. Long ago, all of the manufacturers played on an equal playing field. The only common sources were LP's and tuners. Everything was standardized. Any innovations (such as stereo) were not patented and not the exclusive right of any particular company. Some companies chose to build very high-quality products at very high prices (eg, Marantz and McIntosh), others slightly lesser products at much lower prices (eg, Dynaco and Fisher), and others made entry-level products at very low prices.

But then things shifted. There were a few minor precedents, but the big one was the development of the compact disc. Now two companies (Sony and Philips) had control over virtually the entire field of audio. For nearly two decades the royalty stream on the patents was $1 billion per year.

Everybody enjoyed the profits of this bonanza, as everyone was forced to buy CD players when the LP was discontinued. This was a blatant case of a forced changeover. At the time that LP's were stopped, they still constituted over 1/3 of all music sales. (And remember that cassette was still a strong format at the time.) But the record companies could manufacture CD's for half the cost of LP's, and sell them for twice the price! Plus the return rate (due to warps, scratches, etc.) was negligible.

Once the hardware manufacturers got a taste of this drug, they wanted more. Ever since, all we have seen is a stream of products with planned obsolescence. It is the model that the US car manufacturers adopted after World War II -- make minor changes (such as bigger tailfins) and then try to convince you that your life is worthless without the "latest and greatest" products.

So in the last 20 years we have seen:

- Betamax
- VHS
- LaserDisc
- Dolby Digital
- DTS
- DVD
- Dolby Pro Logic
- Dolby Pro Logic II
- Dolby Digital EX
- Dolby Digital Plus
- Dolby Digital True HD
- DTS 96/24
- DTS HD Master Audio
- 7.1
- 10.2
- HDMI
- HDMI 1.1
- HDMI 1.2
- HDMI 1.3
- HDMI 1.4
- HD-DVD
- Blu-Ray
- CRT Projectors
- DLP
- Plasma
- LCD
- D-ILA
- Et cetera
- Et cetera
- Et cetera

Without exception, none of these products have been upgradeable. That is the entire point of developing these new technologies -- to sell you a new widget, even though your old widget is perfectly satisfactory. And now you are being convinced that your life won't be good unless you have the "latest and greatest" way to connect your source to your SSP.

If you look at the ads, they will try to convince you that in order to have a beautiful home, a beautiful wife, and a beautiful sex life, that you will have to buy the "latest and greatest" improvements.

Well, I don't buy it.

I think you can have a perfectly wonderful time watching movies with your TAG McLaren processor.

It is true that HDMI allows for a pure digital connection of high-resolution, multi-channel audio. But it is also a problematic interface, plagued by high levels of jitter. In addition, the weak link in any surround-sound processor (or stereo preamp for that matter) is the volume control. 99% of all SSP's use a cheap little IC-based volume control chip that severely limits the available sound quality. One of the few processors that has an inherently better sounding technology for the volume control is the Theta Casablanca. They have recently announced an HDMI input module, but it is (if I recall correctly) something like a $4,000 option.

What I am saying is that there is no free lunch.

You can either enjoy what you have, or you can continually spend large sums of money to try and stay on the "latest and greatest" merry-go-round.

Including 10 channels of analog out would not be possible in the DX-5 due to space, heat, and power restrictions. But even if it were, it would not necessarily provide the best sound in your system. Nearly all SSP's digitize the analog inputs so that bass management, EQ, effects, and time delays can be applied. You would probably be better off just using the S/PDIF connection with the lower resolution signal than using an analog connection.

If you really want to try to stay up with the "latest and greatest", you are going to have to buy something. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to spend a reasonable amount of money on a great-sounding two-channel preamp for listening to music. (After all, at least 98% of your music collection is not surround sound.) Make sure this preamp has a processor pass-through mode.

Then buy an inexpensive surround-sound processor that will handle all of the "latest and greatest" improvements. There are some great offerings with tremendous price-to-performance ratios from Arcam, B&K, Rotel, and many others.

The stereo preamp will never become obsolete. The SSP may need replacing every five to ten years, depending on how neurotic the latest ads make you feel. And don't forget, they aren't stopping. The only reason for the existence of Blu-Ray is that the Japanese companies couldn't make money selling DVD players once the Chinese companies started selling them for $29. And already the price of Blu-Ray has eroded to the point where they are already trying to make plans for Blu-Ray's successor. 3-D, anyone?
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post #201 of 1442 Old 12-24-2009, 11:41 AM
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Sounds like ARC isn't prohibitive to implement, which makes its lack of inclusion by companies like Theta a real head scratcher.

I agree.

The HDMI 1.3a spec is fairly incomplete. Only the rough details are spelled out. So we bought a Pioneer combo to analyze what they are doing as far as the fine details.

It is easier to implement on the source side. All you need to do is replace the player's master oscillator with a variable speed one (VCXO). This needs a microprocessor to decode the commands coming in on the CEC line of the HDMI connection, but we are talking about a $3 part here.

It's a bit more work on the processor side. You still need the PLL-based clocks for use with "standard" S/PDIF connections, and then you need to add high-quality fixed oscillators for the lowest possible jitter levels with ARC. Then you have to add a buffer that can store 10 msec or so of all of the channels (up to ten!) and have a microprocessor monitor how full the buffer is. The uP then converts how full the buffer is into "speed up" and "slow down" commands that are sent back upstream to the source component. Total cost is probably more like $20 or $30 for a high-quality implementation by a small-production manufacturer.

I think we'll see some more of these in the future.
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post #202 of 1442 Old 12-28-2009, 06:44 AM
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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?

Have been meaning to say -- really enjoyed this summary of communication, profits and how we live these days.
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post #203 of 1442 Old 12-28-2009, 11:06 AM
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... but wouldn't it have been possible to offer the other channels in single-ended only as analog outputs?

Yes -- what you are asking for is an Oppo BDP-83SE. It does everything you need via analog with the latest generation of DACs and will likely serve you well for many years.
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post #204 of 1442 Old 12-29-2009, 09:19 AM
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Yes -- what you are asking for is an Oppo BDP-83SE. It does everything you need via analog with the latest generation of DACs and will likely serve you well for many years.

There is no doubt that it will do everything he needs. The question is whether it will do everything that he wants. There are a few things that the Ayre DX-5 will do that the BDP-83SE won't -- otherwise we'd be out of business pretty quickly!

There is no doubt that Oppo hit the sweet spot with both of their players. The Ayre is out on the edges of diminishing returns. Even if one thought that it performed twice as well as the Oppo, it is going to cost much more than twice as much. The Ayre is aimed at those who are satisfied only with the best.
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post #205 of 1442 Old 12-29-2009, 09:21 AM
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Have been meaning to say -- really enjoyed this summary of communication, profits and how we live these days.

Thanks! It's always good to keep the big picture in mind so that we can maintain some degree of perspective.
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post #206 of 1442 Old 12-29-2009, 12:52 PM
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There is no doubt that it will do everything he needs. The question is whether it will do everything that he wants. There are a few things that the Ayre DX-5 will do that the BDP-83SE won't -- otherwise we'd be out of business pretty quickly!

There is no doubt that Oppo hit the sweet spot with both of their players. The Ayre is out on the edges of diminishing returns. Even if one thought that it performed twice as well as the Oppo, it is going to cost much more than twice as much. The Ayre is aimed at those who are satisfied only with the best.


Don't take this wrong Charles but the "best" isn't always the most expensive! Some audiophiles are starting to finally realize that. For those with disposable incomes this doesn't seem to affect them at all. I'll PM you my own feeling on this matter if you'd like.

"Music is my religion"
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post #207 of 1442 Old 12-30-2009, 12:10 PM
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Don't take this wrong Charles but the "best" isn't always the most expensive! Some audiophiles are starting to finally realize that. For those with disposable incomes this doesn't seem to affect them at all. I'll PM you my own feeling on this matter if you'd like.

Anybody that quotes Jimi in his signature line gets bonus points from me. But there is no need to take anything to private messages. If you feel that there is something that would be beneficial to share with the other readers of this thread, by all means, fire away!

But if all you want to do is argue that "bits are bits" and that the Ayre cannot produce a better picture quality than the Oppo, please refrain until you have had direct experience. It's one thing to say, "I compared the Ayre to the Oppo with XYZ display and ABC discs and saw no differences." It's another thing entirely (and in my experience, totally useless) to say, "The Ayre delivers the same data to the display as the Oppo, so therefore there cannot be any difference in the picture quality."

The former has value. The latter does not.
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post #208 of 1442 Old 12-30-2009, 12:41 PM
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Anybody that quotes Jimi in his signature line gets bonus points from me. But there is no need to take anything to private messages. If you feel that there is something that would be beneficial to share with the other readers of this thread, by all means, fire away!

But if all you want to do is argue that "bits are bits" and that the Ayre cannot produce a better picture quality than the Oppo, please refrain until you have had direct experience. It's one thing to say, "I compared the Ayre to the Oppo with XYZ display and ABC discs and saw no differences." It's another thing entirely (and in my experience, totally useless) to say, "The Ayre delivers the same data to the display as the Oppo, so therefore there cannot be any difference in the picture quality."

The former has value. The latter does not.

No Charles not wishing to argue at all. I own a CX-7e and am waiting for the upgrade hopfeully in February. That's what Brian Berdan told me last time I was at the store.

"Music is my religion"
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post #209 of 1442 Old 12-30-2009, 04:54 PM
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It is easier to implement on the source side. All you need to do is replace the player's master oscillator with a variable speed one (VCXO). This needs a microprocessor to decode the commands coming in on the CEC line of the HDMI connection, but we are talking about a $3 part here.

It's a bit more work on the processor side. You still need the PLL-based clocks for use with "standard" S/PDIF connections, and then you need to add high-quality fixed oscillators for the lowest possible jitter levels with ARC. Then you have to add a buffer that can store 10 msec or so of all of the channels (up to ten!) and have a microprocessor monitor how full the buffer is. The uP then converts how full the buffer is into "speed up" and "slow down" commands that are sent back upstream to the source component. Total cost is probably more like $20 or $30 for a high-quality implementation by a small-production manufacturer.

I think we'll see some more of these in the future.

Carefull Charles or you will slip and give us your true cost

I hope to speak to Steve again at CES your firm always have a great sounding room and professionally represented.

Happy New Year to you sir!

Mike Miles

ICR [ Sales Consulting and Small Part-Time AV shop, very small...  ]

Process Integration, Inc. [ contract sales consultant ]

Eastern Shore of Maryland

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post #210 of 1442 Old 12-31-2009, 11:35 AM
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No Charles not wishing to argue at all. I own a CX-7e and am waiting for the upgrade hopfeully in February. That's what Brian Berdan told me last time I was at the store.

I think that you will be pleasantly surprised at the sonic improvement created by the new digital filter in the CX-7e CD player.

By all means, please feel free to share your thoughts here. I welcome an open dialog.
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