Datasat RS20i BETA test and comparison with ADA Rhapsody/Trinnov TEQ-12!!!! - AVS Forum
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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This thread is intended to document my findings with both the Datasat RS20i by itself in a system of my design and implementation, as well as a contrast of 3 separate conditions:

1.) measure and compare results that I obtained using Rhapsody and built-in PEQ software to ADA/Trinnov TEQ results

2.) measure and compare results that I obtain using Datasat graphic and parametric eq (without Dirac Live ) to results from ADA PEQ.

3.) measure and compare results of semi-automated Trinnov process to the semi-automated Dirac Live process.

Ultimately, I'm trying to explore just how powerful this tool (RS20i) is. As an added bonus, I get to give feedback to Datasat regarding development and comparison to other well-regarded brands (ADA). The nice part about my little situation here is that both ADA and Datasat know that their products will be compared to each other- in the hopes that the results can make both products better...and both companies have agreed to let me do this.

The details:
I am officially a Beta tester for Datasat, the unit that I received today (as you can see in the pictures) is number 4. That's right: 4 . So it is still VERY prototype, but the hopes are that since it's based on the AP20 which is pretty mature by now, that things should be pretty smooth. I'll have this particular piece until the next round of changes is complete- then it goes back and I receive the next unit...and lather, rinse, repeat.

I am officially trying-out the Trinnov TEQ-12 specifically to see just what it can do in comparison to me. The fact that the Datasat is here (with the Dirac Live), is an added bonus- I'll be able to relay to both companies how they actually fare against each-other. The TEQ-12 has not shipped from ADA yet, so I do not know how soon that will be here.

The system:
Front channels: ATC Active 20s with C5CA center channel
Surrounds: Custom CAT C6.7IW in-wall (1/2" aluminum baffles)
Subs: 2x CAT CS6IC (18" in-cabinet subwoofers)- LFE delivery
6x CAT CS4IW (12" in-wall aluminum subwoofers)- balancing woofers
Processor: ADA Cinema Rhapsody M4Balanced
Blu-Ray: OPPO BDP-95 (soon to be augmented by Kaleidescape M700)
OTA/Cable: Motorola DCX-3400 (Comcast) soon to be replaced by TiVo ELITE
DSP: BBE DS26 (used for LFE and balancing woofers)
Scaler: Lumagen Radiance XE (3D done, but unused)
Projector: Digital Projection Titan Reference
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen ST130 Microperfed, 2.0:1 (12'x6')

The system has been tuned using SMAART 7.2, Audix TM-1 and Presonus Firebox; utilizing FFT for phase and magnitude response to optimize bass response per-seat, per-row. 1/48th octave resolution.

The fun part:

THERE WILL BE A GATHERING!!!!!!

Once I have the academia dealt-with, we'll be hosting an event to show-off these devices! Since none of us has ever had the opportunity to actually compare these technologies on the same system: this will be our chance!

My plans are to set-up 2 additional systems in the area surrounding the theater (5 seats only, and who wants to crowd-in if we don't have to?)- probably to allow folks to play with Kaleidescape and get to experience that technology first-hand (I have certainly become a believer) as well as perhaps a small 2-channel area playing music (or to allow folks to demo their own). Those details haven't been hammered-out yet, and as the time arrives- I'll post what I come up with.


Details/results may be rather sporadic concerning the various systems- the Datasat did not include the breakout cables, a manual, any software, a remote- I received the processor and a power cord. period.

Since there has been SOOO much interest/discussion concerning these technologies; when the opportunity presented itself at CEDIA; I jumped on it!

So as time moves on and I have more information and results from tests; I'll post them here. Feel free to ask questions, and I'll answer what I can- when I can. I'm not going to make any promises that we'll see participation from Datasat or ADA personnel- this is my own semi-independent study. On that topic: this is semi-independent because as most here know, I sell the ADA products- but I'm going to sell Datasat as well- so hopefully that addresses any bias concerns people may have regarding my findings: I have BOTH horses in this race, so I don't care who wins.

Anyway, on with the show- hopefully I'm smart enough to get these images embedded from flikr.

on with the mini-show:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

well so much for embedding images...

sorry

Cheers,
Dan

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Old 10-15-2011, 04:25 AM
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Very, very cool. I can't wait!!!

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Old 10-15-2011, 07:27 AM
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This should make for an interesting thread. A couple of questions:

1. Will you be posting the recommended eq graphs from each product?

2. After each unit makes its recommended changes, will you be checking to see of the other unit can be altered to your preferred curve? Also, it would be interesting to see if the ADA, with its parametric eq, sans trinnov, can be made to approach the curve of the Dirac (or Trinnov for that matter)...for owners or future purchasers of the ADA that would be a valuable data point.

3. Will you play around with the curves in the Dirac after it makes its changes to see if you can further fine tune to your taste or preferred measured outcome?

4. You mentioned the potential of stereo testing, will this be in the context of the room processor as well or just as a "preamp"?

5. Will you also be playing with the x-over capabilities of the Datasat to evaluate how its flexibility may be of value to the user?

6. Will you measure how each unit affects the listening experience from seat to seat or will the measurements focus on a primary listening position? In the context of the subs it would be interesting to see a before an after from the perspective of variability from seat to seat.

7. Lastly, does this Datasat have Neo:X, and if yes, are you going to examine its value in an 11.1 configuration?

Edit: OK, maybe it was a little more than 2 questions

Thanks,

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Old 10-15-2011, 08:03 AM
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Looking forward to this. Time frame?
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Raul,

1.) Yes, I intend to post screen captures and traces whenever possible to show various results (most likely SMAART traces, since it's a 3rd party software that is the defacto standard in the pro industry).

2.)I'm sure that I can adjust any of these devices to match any of the others- what is going to be truly interesting is to see where exactly they differ- and where I differ in my manual adjustments of PEQ by measuring with my hardware/software. Perhaps I may make them all coincide at the end of this process, but considering the tremendous amount of time this is going to take; I may not be able to. We shall see.

3.) Of course, as I will with all of the results. A machine is great for showing you what may or may not be there- but only the supercomputer of the human can make the final judgements regarding those traits of soundstage, spaciousness, imaging, and "real-ness" for lack of a better term.

4.) 2-channel performance will be evaluated (it always is; movies are easy- music is hard) but musicality will actually be its own metric for the purposes of this experiment.

5.) Yes and no, I will be manipulating the digital crossovers in the Datasat- but for this particular series it will not be utilized as completely as I probably will in the future. Eventually, I'll probably utilize the 16 channels to generate fully-active multi-way mains plus multiple subs in the same room. But not this time- this system dictates that the digital crossovers are a simple high-pass/low-pass per channel.

6.) Both the Datasat via Dirac Live and the Trinnov dictate that measurements be taken from multiple positions in the room. I already measure from every seat in the room and then average the results as a matter of my own measurement practice- this will not change with these devices.

7.)The AP20 utilizes Neo:X, so I can only assume that the RS20i does as well. Remember, there is no manual for this device yet- so some of these capabilities appear to be in flux. I'm confused by what you mean by 11.1 , are you saying 7 high-pass for surrounds and 4 subs reproducing LFE?
- the system is currently setup as 7.1 but that .1 is divided among 8 different subwoofers. I hope to use the Datasat to eliminate the need for the BBE box and go 7 high-pass, with each of the 8 subs receiving it's own channel for Dirac Live (although currently Dirac can only handle 12 channels, not 16). If I can configure the device to do that- it should eliminate my need for outboard DSPs in most systems, since they are typically 7 high-pass and 4-8 subwoofers.

Perfectionist2,

I cannot answer the timeframe question yet. I get the Trinnov for 30 days- but first I have to get it, and as of Thursday ADA was still waiting on the boards, so at the moment; your guess is as good as mine. Datasat is loaning the RS20i to me for 45 days, but I expect to have this device in one form or another for quite some time. If even half of the changes that are underway happen, there will be significant changes in performance of the Datasat within 60 days- essentially making it seem like a different processor.

My hope is to be able to have the Get Together before the holiday season gets underway, but it may have to be shortly after Thanksgiving. No date has been considered yet- more info once the TEQ-12 is in-house.

Dan

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Old 10-15-2011, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

4.) 2-channel performance will be evaluated (it always is; movies are easy- music is hard) but musicality will actually be its own metric for the purposes of this experiment.

yes, but will you allow the units to do their room eq processing prior to listening, or are you going to keep the signal as "pure" as possible?

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Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

7.)The AP20 utilizes Neo:X, so I can only assume that the RS20i does as well. Remember, there is no manual for this device yet- so some of these capabilities appear to be in flux. I'm confused by what you mean by 11.1 , are you saying 7 high-pass for surrounds and 4 subs reproducing LFE?

Neo:X is the new surround processor from DTS that is able to create height and side channels when non-existent. It can be used in 9.1, 9.2 and 11.1 configuration. As far as I know, it was in their plans to use it in the AP20 and the RS20i, but was not aware they if they had released it already (maybe they have for the RS20i). Also, if the new bass management software has been released, that should allow you to work with up to 4 subs.

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Old 10-15-2011, 02:51 PM
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Fantastic, Dan, can hardly wait to see your findings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

7.)The AP20 utilizes Neo:X, so I can only assume that the RS20i does as well.

Are you sure? There was talk of the AP20 getting a Neo:X update, but I didn't think it had happened.

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Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

7.)I'm confused by what you mean by 11.1 , are you saying 7 high-pass for surrounds and 4 subs reproducing LFE?

As implemented in receivers, at least, it will be 7.1 with the addition of two height channels (front, I think) and a pair of front wides.

Noah
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:59 PM
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As implemented in receivers, at least, it will be 7.1 with the addition of two height channels (front, I think) and a pair of front wides.

7.1 plus two new heights and two new wides, or 7.1 including heights and wides?
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Old 10-15-2011, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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My Bad, I read the AP20 manual last night after posting the thread...it mentioned NEO:6 numerous times, and I made the association. Sorry, there is no mention of NEO:X anywhere in the manual for the AP20 (my only reference at the moment). Sorry for the mix-up.

In any case, no, I would not be testing that at this time anyway. Like I said before; the system is 7.1 with the LFE mixed from 8 subs- there are no height, wide, zoom, fly-by, or other non-standard channels in use at this time.

To the 2-channel question; yes I am going to let the eq programs do their thing- in my mind THAT IS the more accurate way to go. There is no such thing as the perfect room-speaker combination, so why wouldn't you eq? "Pure" signal in my mind means highest quality connections and proper grounding, installation, etc. I guess I see it this way: the music you listen to was produced in a space that used eq, whether in a studio or in a live venue, so why not?

Besides, I'm trying to see just what these things can do- since Dirac and Trinnov are raved-about, might as well put them head to head in the same room!

sorry for the confusion re NEO:X
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

To the 2-channel question; yes I am going to let the eq programs do their thing- in my mind THAT IS the more accurate way to go. There is no such thing as the perfect room-speaker combination, so why wouldn't you eq? "Pure" signal in my mind means highest quality connections and proper grounding, installation, etc. I guess I see it this way: the music you listen to was produced in a space that used eq, whether in a studio or in a live venue, so why not?

Bravo. The view that roomEQ is unnecessary for stereo is antiquated.

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Old 10-15-2011, 07:26 PM
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Bravo. The view that roomEQ is unnecessary for stereo is antiquated.

Unless you have a CB III?!

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Old 10-15-2011, 11:56 PM
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Bravo. The view that roomEQ is unnecessary for stereo is antiquated.

I agree. Sound is sound, whether from a movie or music....it should be as good as possible.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:26 AM
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Unless you have a CB III?!

As always, you are behind the time. ATI has licensed DIRAC LIVE and is coming out with field upgrades for the Theta CB3 HD AND itsB&K line to provide this.

Your betting against Theta, if you had put your money where your mouth is, would have broken your bank!@@@

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Old 10-16-2011, 11:20 AM
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Dan,

I see the digital outputs made it to the RS20i. Do they work 1:1 when the input is via HDMI 24/96 or 24/192? Or is downsampling activated when HDMI is the source? Would be great if the digital output would at least do 24/96 as that would allow to feed the digital signal directly into the speakers.

- Stephan
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Stephan, I'm not sure how precisely the digital outputs are handled but they are capable of 48, 96, or 192khz sapling rates. They are all formatted in AES/EBU format- so it's really more for products like pro-amps that can accept AES inputs (like d&b audiotechnik). There are several DSPs available that can accept AES inputs as well.

Remember, this is a PRO piece in a pretty dress- not and Audiophile piece pretending to be PRO. The pro-sound world is different; you use the tool for the job, or the tool that's the most versatile, or you're the most adept at- not necessarily the "best sounding" since that is all relative anyway.

On paper, the RS20i certainly appears to be a very powerful tool; I really can't wait to get cracking on this thing to see what it can do- hopefully tomorrow I'll get some software and additional info from Datasat (unit showed-up after the end of business on Fri).

Dan

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Old 10-16-2011, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucemck2 View Post

7.1 plus two new heights and two new wides, or 7.1 including heights and wides?

The former, giving 11.1

Noah
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:52 PM
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This will indeed be a great comparison!Can't wait to see the outcome.
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

As always, you are behind the time. ATI has licensed DIRAC LIVE and is coming out with field upgrades for the Theta CB3 HD AND itsB&K line to provide this.

Your betting against Theta, if you had put your money where your mouth is, would have broken your bank!@@@

Who is behind the times? Theta??

Licensing it for 2020 and likely a neutered version!

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Old 10-17-2011, 03:57 PM
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Dan,

Any chance you'd be willing to "throw a wrench into the works" to truly test the mettle of these RC's and their claims of time domain correction?

In well treated rooms their job is relatively easy compared to less than ideal room situations, which may lack treatments and/or not have right/left symmetry.

Like my room; I have an untreated window wall a few feet to the side of my right speaker.

It would be really interesting to see what happens if you remove the first reflection point absorber on one side, or disable it by leaning a piece of plywood or something against the wall to cover it.

Maybe do this with the 2 ch system to minimize processing time.

Noah
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Cool idea! My demo room has the entry door on the side wall just past the first absorber- leaving that door open causes some funkiness to happen with bass response as well as shadowing the left front speaker. That would be a challenge that I'll have to remember.

'Sorry but I need to skoot- Warren Haynes band at the Vic in less than 2 hours!

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Old 10-17-2011, 08:07 PM
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It will be interesting to see how Datasat develops. I got the feeling from Cedia that they were only doing the consumer space to meet their requirements. There demo could have been better if they had given Mark Seaton more time on the set up. Hopefully next year they will do a better job and smooth out the rough edges.

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Old 10-18-2011, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I received the Dirac Live installer's kit today from Datasat, as well as the cables necessary for the 16 channel analog outputs.

Very impressive rig for the Installer's kit; it's really more of a very well-made measurement rig. A sound-dood in a case if-you-will. I had to chuckle to see the similarities to my normal measurement rig.

Pelican Case - check
Manfrotto stand- check
wireless router- check
Computer interface- check
cables- check

BTW- Mine is the larger of the two cases; I keep 2 rigs inside in case of emergencies.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434@N05/6259746604/

mine
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

inside
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

inside level 2
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

inside theirs
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7252434...n/photostream/

Yep, I'm startin' to think they aren't getting that back....

Dan

seriously, WTF with the insert photos?

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Old 10-19-2011, 03:27 AM
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Quote:
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Yep, I'm startin' to think they aren't getting that back....

Dan

seriously, WTF with the insert photos?

Try using the IMG tags.

That setup is about the same as what I have.

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Old 10-19-2011, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks, Dave I was using that icon that looks like a postcard and it just kept giving me the boxes with question marks. Yeah, I remember that your rig is kind of a mix of the two that I have here: you use the USB Pre and the Audix, right?

Dan

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Old 10-20-2011, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Finally fired the RS20i up; first impression with music via SPDIF is that it's very clean- gets out of the way like it should. Fan is too loud, though- that will need to be addressed for the home market. I'm currently working on getting the Dirac software and everything else setup on my computer- come to find out that the Dirac doesn't like a Virtual PC; so apparently I now have to load another OS proper.

More to follow as time moves on.

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Old 10-21-2011, 05:57 AM
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Dan - does the fan turn off when the unit is in standby, or is it on 24/7?
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I should probably clarify; for the purposes of just getting used to the interface and getting the software up and running- I just set it up on a table on top of a Denon 5900 to listen to CDs. Very temporary setup. On the same table is our Kaleidescape server being loaded with blu-rays, and THAT has loud fans, so I was being a little confused by those fans. The Datasat is actually probably as loud as the Rhapsody. I'll measure and compare more accurately once the Datasat is in the demo room. It was just an off the cuff observation that the fan could be quieter.

Yes, the fan shuts off when the unit does.

My main challenge at the moment is getting the software loaded and running on the laptop- it appears that I have had some success with a virtual pc running windows 7 on the Mac.


More to come later

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Old 10-21-2011, 08:11 AM
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Hi Dan -- I have the AP20 and the fan never shuts off unless you kill the power completely. It isn't very loud, especially in a rack, but is unnecessary when it's not on. I am mostly concerned about drawing dust in more than anything, so good to know they addressed that in the RS20i.
I believe Macs work fine with Dirac provided you use bootcamp. I'm a Mac guy, but find that I'm forced to keep an old PC laptop with XP around just to load drivers, etc. just because it is more convenient.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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My virtual pc clone of my old XP laptop works fine for everything else, but just wouldn't communicate with the Dirac. The software would lock up every time. Yet when the Dirac was loaded onto the virtual windows 7 machine (different MBPro), I could initiate Dirac and start a measurement- but the Dirac never "heard" the speakers. I think it may be a driver issue for the USB Pre2.

I'll have to talk to the Datasat guys on Monday, I'm really busy today and won't have the time to address it until the weekend- when they aren't working. Oh well, maybe I'll figure it out for myself. Once the Dirac is playing nice and the VNC viewer is running, I can get the Datasat in the demo room and start the nitty-gritty of setup in my space.

I'm getting there.

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Old 10-21-2011, 08:55 AM
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Interesting that it never heard the speakers-- I had the same issue when I tried Dirac... I was getting -60db in the Dirac screen for all speakers and thought it was the Centrance pre-amp I was using. I sent the pre-amp back to Centrance for the once over, and they said it was fine, but they indicated that the Earthworks M30 mic I'm using draws a lot of voltage, so I should consider using a powered USB hub out of the computer to try and mitigate that... Maybe something to consider in your situation?

While all this was playing out I also picked up a USB Pre pre-amp to try out if the hub didn't work -- Planning on trying again this weekend with both and seeing if any of that does the trick.

Oh, and I can't get VNC to run on my iPad at all... Curious to see if you're successful
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