Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky
Kal, as an "unbiased reviewer, what do you deem to be the "facts" re Theta's proprietary stuff?
What matters most to us Theta luvers is how it sounds. Objective info is nice but how it sounds still matters the most. Note I am not putting down any other brand in saying this.
Re the CB3:
Theta's center spread is proprietary.
Theta's Extreme DAC software is proprietary - whether one might feel objectively its better than someone else's I suppose can be argued.
Theta's taking two channel and being able to make it say Dolby Digital plus another mode for the rest of the channels, like Dolby Digital plus Circle Surround, or Dolby Digital plus DPL2, or even taking analog stereo in from SACD and making it Analog Matrix (preserves analog two channel and derives digital to other channels) is a real nice proprietary feature. Certainly some other brands perhaps have some similar type proprietary modes.
I have a 5.1 (3 subs chained) system, so I really haven't paid attention to side channels, though I understand they are derived and nothing real proprietary here I would think. Same I would think goes for rear center channel. I don't know that sides or center rear use anything particularly proprietary. SDurani may be right about this. Frankly, I didn't perceive his initial comments about this as an attack against Theta, but as an attempt to clarify whats proprietary here. But I really haven't delved into this as it doesn't concern my system.
Theta's Six Shooter multi-channel analog preamp is certainly proprietary and unique to the CB3. And as Bulldogger does you can hook up two of them if you want to do more than 5.1 channels. Of course with HDMI audio 1.3 upgrade to come probably no one will even consider this - except maybe Bulldogger???
Theta's bass management is certainly proprietary, with so much choice of crossover types and slopes it can drive ya batty!!! But it does allow the extreme audiophile home theater voyeur to tailor the bass to setup, room and system. And as SDurani pointed, you can have four separate subs hooked up and you can program which speaker gives the low pass to the subs. Impression is other companies are getting better bass management now but not quite like this.
Theta's card cage system is certainly proprietary - who else has a surround processor since 1997 that remains now upgradeable to HDMI 1.3 audio? Pretty amazing.
How about Theta's volume control - choose analog or digital - my understanding is analog doesn't lose bits and sounds better. Ain't that proprietary?
Theta's re-EQ has four steps. In that sense its proprietary. Of course other surround processors often have their own re-EQ. And I don't know that anyone really needs to use all four steps.
Theta's "normal" and "wide" modes for digital audio are proprietary in the sense that all oher surround processors have only one mode.
The purpose of this is "normal" sounds better in a high resolution system (I have heard this) but "wide" locks easier for those
chips like in some satellite receivers that are likely not in spec like they should be.
Theta's card to link external DACs is certainly proprietary. Do you know of any other surround processor that allows for this? Now its questionable whether HDMI 1.3 audio will pass thu this card to external DACs due to HDMI license restrictions. A friend uses three stereo Levinson DACS with his still CB2 (not upgraded yet).
I recall when my then CB2 was upgraded from Superior to Extreme DACs, which we did in the field, we had to also upgrade with a new even more massive power supply to handle the "power" processing. The quality of the power supply in a component is proprietary in the sense that there are those engineers who believe objectively, and subjectively, that it makes a difference.
And that this upgradeable high end surround processor will soon have HDMI 1.3 audio LPCM and bitstream decoding of the new high resolution audio formats. I got exactly what I asked for here in ths forum several months ago - put the new HDMI 1.3 audio card right where the current video card is, have it video pass through/switching only, working with Theta's Extreme, Superior 2 or Premium DACs. COOL!
This is not to say that other companies like Levinson, Halcro, Lexicon do not have their own proprietary stuff. Some of us like Theta's stuff. Besides that Levinson is way out of my price range - and my Theta Casablanca has been reasonably upgradeable for years now.
It would be nice for this thread to get back to Theta only. And of course for Theta luvers to still ignore a certain D__ W__ who qualifies as a no nothing web expert if I ever saw one. But some others have asked objective questions or given objective info on this thread that
may well be legit. The CB3 has proprietary features but also has features including perhaps some steering and other stuff which of course is similar and perhaps at times the same as in some other companies' products.
Of course it is well established that the DB3's DACs aren't inherently capable of decoding SACD native bitstream to analog, that conversion to PCM would first have to be accomplished. But once the CB3 HDMI audio 1.3 upgrade is available, one could use an Oppo player, which outputs either SACD bitstream (but don't use with CB3) or converts SACD bitstream to PCM connected via HDMI to the CB3 and get the benefit of digital transmission to the CB3.
Kal, I have always respected your technical knowledge and review and any
info you have is welcome. I don't respect everyone (guess who in particular) as on the web everyone is an "expert" but few may know much.