Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor
From the look of things I think the market will settle on 9.1.4 as being the practical limit for 95% of AVRs and Pre-Pros. I'm not sure how many products will do 11.1.4 or 9.1.6 or other high channel count configurations.
The need to include a DSP post AVR or Pre-Pro comes from three things:
- need to manage multiple subwoofers (level, delay, EQ)
- need to decorrelate multiple surrounds
- need to EQ speakers or subs
Why does the QSC DSP cost 6-8k? Compared to say a Xilica XP series which to my knowledge has all the same functionality?
The sound quality of a $3k Jap pre-pro into a DSP via an extra D/A and A/D is not going to be close to a Datasat or Trinnov. The room correction functionality of the Datasat or Trinnov is also vastly superior to what you have available in MOST outboard DSPs (the forthcoming miniDSP NanoAVR with Dirac Live will change this). Those are the only two full range room correction technologies I would recommend to high performance room. Sure, if your room is nicely treated then they are only making maybe a 5-10% difference in the SQ of the mid and high frequencies [in the bass Dirac Live, Trinnov and a properly setup parametric EQ are equivalent IMO) but it is noticeable.
I had heard that a reasonably priced consumer (Denon, Marantz, Anthem, etc.) 15 channel pre-amp/processors (9.1.6 or 11.1.4) should be available sometime next year. Perhaps these were 'vaporware' statements, but I'll hold out hope.
The reason the QSC or the Xilica DSP would be in the $6k to $8k range is to cover the full number of channels that would be needed. The Xilica XP series is $2k each for 8 channels, with the QSC slightly more. The 16 channel Xilica is $6600. QSC puts you around $8k for three 8 channel models. With Procella you need even more channels to handle P610 or P815 LCR integration (since each LCR counts as 2 channels), not to mention some DSP room for any balancing subs.
Functionally, the QSC and the Xilica are quite similar, with the main differences being the sampling frequency and bit depth of the floating point DSP for their standard models. The QSC Core series is about the same money as multiples of the 322ua or 922az, etc. but is expandable up to 128 channels, has audio matrix abilities, iPad integration and, like the Trinnov, does all the DSP processing through multiple processor horsepower and not a dedicated hardware DSP chip. The inputs and outputs are 24 bit, which is equivalent to the maximum bit depth of the current Bluray standard, but processing is 64 bit floating point. Only hi-res audio files would be limited by both
DSPs. The QSC also has much less latency than the Xilica and is easier to program as most calibrators (including my potential calibrator) are intimately familiar with Q-Sys. Xilica...not so much.