Advice: Lex MP20 vs. Classe 800 vs. Arcam AVR 600 - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Nope. Have a great wife, too!! The psychology isn't as convoluted. Drive one and you'll understand!

My situation is different. She would divorce me if I bought a Porsche. So I would be out 60K/year depreciation AND half my assets. the economics don't work for me. Besides, I would probably crash it. I spend 15 minutes on the race track once and ended up totalling my (rented) car. No insurance - that hurt.
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post #92 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

My situation is different. She would divorce me if I bought a Porsche. So I would be out 60K/year depreciation AND half my assets. the economics don't work for me. Besides, I would probably crash it. I spend 15 minutes on the race track once and ended up totalling my (rented) car. No insurance - that hurt.

Understand! Yipes! That would hurt~! Well, a a good marriage is more important than of these toys... Smart move!

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post #93 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Theta's implementation of Dirac Live will be available at the digital outs. Curt did say, that no home theater products, has the kind of digital to analog conversion,"as some of the esoteric dacs like the Gen VIII." That's as far as I will go with that discussion. Ask him for his opinions. Sure it may be 48/16 at Theta digital outs but into the Gen VIII, it's still going to beat any of the current processors with an outboard box.

That advantage is not limited to Theta. The Datasat allows for 16 digital Ch of output (and I'm sure there are other SSP that are able to output digitally, but perhaps not as many channels). As to the Theta DAC, I know many of the Theta owners would only consider that route, but it is not the route that I and many others would prefer. Myself, I have gone down the path of Metric Halo, and for many in the recording industry MH and Prism are the DACs of choice (for those of you who enjoy high-end magazines, JA used the cheaper 2 ch version of the MH for one [last?] of his Stereophile recordings). Although I have not heard or seen it, for those who prefer electronics aimed at consumers, the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC appears to be an excellent choice (it is highly recommended by a respected poster in this and other forums Amir).

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post #94 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Raul GS View Post

That advantage is not limited to Theta. The Datasat allows for 16 digital Ch of output (and I'm sure there are other SSP that are able to output digitally, but perhaps not as many channels). As to the Theta DAC, I know many of the Theta owners would only consider that route, but it is not the route that I and many others would prefer. ).

Yes but Theta's solution, intentionally does analog volume control. Digital volume controls lose resolution. True, home theater is mostly about all in one box with the exception of power. Separates for everything is more of an audiophile concept which Theta owners mostly are.

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post #95 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 03:33 PM
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There is no reason you can't do volume control in the analog domain with the MH, I can't speak for Prism or the Alpha unit.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence, than it does knowledge. Charles Darwin
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post #96 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Yes but Theta's solution, intentionally does analog volume control. Digital volume controls lose resolution. True, home theater is mostly about all in one box with the exception of power. Separates for everything is more of an audiophile concept which Theta owners mostly are.

A number of very good DACs with analog volume control have recently been released (Weiss 202, Aesthetix, Antelope Zodiac Gold), almost certainly at a more attractive price performance level then the $14K GenVIII. I auditioned the Zodiac and it is a phenomenal DAC (better then the Perfectwave) for $4200 and it can be used as an analog preamp as well. The problem is integration in a multi channel application, which to my knowledge only the GenVIII + CBIII HD allows you to do seamlessly.

The other issue is resolution. For HDMI sources you will always need to downsample of have a proprietary link. Even if a very good outboard DAC sounds better at 48/16 than an internal DAC at 96/24, this is still a pretty significant compromise.

May be someone will eventuall build an all digital unit doing decoding, bass management, and EQ and link it to an external multi channel DAC with analog volume control using a proprietary link, but this architecture does not appear to be around the corner.

A personally think that the footprint of SOTA dacs will continue to shrink to the point that you can stick them on a card and get the same level performance from a card as an outboard DAC.
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post #97 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Raul GS View Post

There is no reason you can't do volume control in the analog domain with the MH, I can't speak for Prism or the Alpha unit.

That's not my point. You can not control volume for all channels via analog with the surround processor.

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post #98 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

A number of very good DACs with analog volume control have recently been released (Weiss 202, Aesthetix, Antelope Zodiac Gold), almost certainly at a more attractive price performance level then the $14K GenVIII. I auditioned the Zodiac and it is a phenomenal DAC (better then the Perfectwave) for $4200 and it can be used as an analog preamp as well. The problem is integration in a multi channel application, which to my knowledge only the GenVIII + CBIII HD allows you to do seamlessly.

I don't like your value assessments because they can be a bit deceptive. For example you will compare the PS Audio Dac for price/performance vs the Gen VIII. The volume control of PS Audio is for the most part not too great and you need a separate preamp which drives up the cost of the actual comparison SIGNIFICANTLY.You mention that the Zodiac has an analog volume control and the price for your comparison but make no mention of the quality of the volume control and whether you actually used it in that manner. True, I did just mention analog volume control but I was not referring to the ability of the dac to do so but of the pre-pro to be able to control volume via an external dac in the analog domain. Raul and many many others would not consider it practical to use an external dac in home theater. Even the guys who do may not consider it practical to do so and have to try and match and control volume levels with yet another volume control not in sync with the pre-pro. Theta appears to be the only company capable of that, which you do mention.

The 6 Moons review suggest you need an external preamplifier,"Depending on system context, ultimate body, density, color saturation and bass power may need to come from elsewhere. In my context, class A push/pull EL84 monos in feedback pentode mode plus a high gain transistor preamp provided the appropriate reinforcement." If you need for example a 10k preamp which seems to be about the sound performance you get from the volume control of the Gen VIII, then the combination of any of those dacs with such a preamp is the same or more.

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post #99 of 107 Old 12-03-2011, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Srgtfury View Post

I am a bit flummoxed, on the above. My sitch is that I have a new, made in UK (not the buggy China made), Arcam AVR 600, which will be a NIB piece. delivered to me in two days. I have had the old 600 for a few years or so, but have not any experience with the other two pieces. Now, I understand that Classe is now being built in China and that their head design engineer has left the company. The Lex has great appeal to me, based on the reports I have read and the concept regarding sound stage manipulation. Their dealer rep said that the piece is in the list, that usually indicates release in the next quarter, but not sure, and that seems to be contrary to what I have read everywhere else.

Now, I would like to wait for the Lex and maybe sell the Arcam NIB as opposed to used. I was surprised to get the list of $12,000.00 for the Classe, BTW, given its age and the above.

Any help much appreciated.

Thank you very much

Fury

Wait to hear to see how the Lexicon performs. IF it is as good as the Classe for sound quality with much more advanced room correction, then it might be your choice. I find the Classe a superb value. It excels with 2 channel stereo. I compared it against a Mcintosh MX150 in several different systems. Many Mcintosh dealers also carry Classe because Mcintosh has traditionally matched well with B&W speakers.

For home theater, the room correction of the Mcintosh really gave it an advantage. I have not been a fan of room correction because a decade ago it was really hyped but did not deliver what was promised, yet many swore by that performance. When I heard the Mcintosh MX150, I realized that had changed. The way the room correction blends all of the channels is truly an asset. This is why, using the same speakers on all channels really helps in this regard. Most of us however use different and smaller speakers on the rear channels. In nearly all the demonstrations that I have heard, smaller surround never quite match the timbre of the front floor standers despite claims to the contrary.

Where the Classe had an advantage was with 2 channel audio. It's some of the best most natural sound I have heard from a surround processor.

If Lexicon can bring the "base," sound quality of their new processor up to the level of the Classe and can create the type of continuous sound field like the Mcintosh does, it should be a great performer. CES is also about a month away. You many want to see what that brings as well.

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post #100 of 107 Old 12-04-2011, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

I don't like your value assessments because they can be a bit deceptive. For example you will compare the PS Audio Dac for price/performance vs the Gen VIII. The volume control of PS Audio is for the most part not too great and you need a separate preamp which drives up the cost of the actual comparison SIGNIFICANTLY.You mention that the Zodiac has an analog volume control and the price for your comparison but make no mention of the quality of the volume control and whether you actually used it in that manner. True, I did just mention analog volume control but I was not referring to the ability of the dac to do so but of the pre-pro to be able to control volume via an external dac in the analog domain. Raul and many many others would not consider it practical to use an external dac in home theater. Even the guys who do may not consider it practical to do so and have to try and match and control volume levels with yet another volume control not in sync with the pre-pro. Theta appears to be the only company capable of that, which you do mention.

The 6 Moons review suggest you need an external preamplifier,"Depending on system context, ultimate body, density, color saturation and bass power may need to come from elsewhere. In my context, class A push/pull EL84 monos in feedback pentode mode plus a high gain transistor preamp provided the appropriate reinforcement." If you need for example a 10k preamp which seems to be about the sound performance you get from the volume control of the Gen VIII, then the combination of any of those dacs with such a preamp is the same or more.

OK. Here is some more information. I compared the Zodiac with its own analog volume control with the PWD + Modwright. It was very close and this was while the setup was biased in favor of the PWD / Bridge combo (I used balanced on the PWD, single ended on the Zodiac), and also better cabling and conditioned power for the PWD).

For three reasons I stuck with the PWD + Modwright. (A). I already sunk the inverstment and paid $4000 for the Modwright which I can easily get back. If I buy the brand new Zodiac, I depreciate $1000 on day one. (2) I much prefer netowork based computer audio over USB, (3) I have high hopes for the forthcoming PS audio upgrade. Nonetheless, the $4,200 Zodiac is sonically roughly equivalent to $15K (list) other hardware own. How it would hold up against a Gen VIII only a shootout can tell. Nonetheless, it is fairly safe to assume in strict sound quality per $$$ it probably a better value.

The 6 moons review actually mentions the Zodiac easily held its own against his 10K preamp. Not sure if you read the review of the original Zodiac or the Zodiac gold. Quote from the review: "I thought the gains in staging grandeur and vocal immediacy (this gain happened when he used the Zodiac preamp) were a fair trade for giving up a tad of robustness and low-down slammage to the preamp (this being his incumbent 10K preamp).

As you mention, if you want the flawless multi channel integration the CBIII HB + GenVIII is the only game in town, which is a big part of the value propostion. Theta's flexibility has always been their strongsuite (I love my six shooter!). It is unfortunatel they (apparenty) never upgraded their (2 channel and 6 channel) external volume control box. Some folks might be intrigued and want to playing around with non Theta DACs using this option (I am keeping mine, in case I ever upgrade to CBII HD with digi out. It would allow me to seamlessly integrate the PWD into multi channel).

Final thought. There are no used Zodiac's on the market, and you can get a used Gen VIII for around 6-7K I believe, so the street price difference is much smaller than list. You could even argue you are better off buying a used Gen VIII for 6K and be able to resell it for 5K at some point, than buying a new Zodiac for $4,200, which will be worth $2,500 after a year or two/three. Of course two/three years down the road when used Zodiac's (and Weiss 202 and Aestetix) start shoing up this equation changes.
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post #101 of 107 Old 12-04-2011, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

We're splitting hairs.


Keep in mind that this would be your DAC for mains. In a HT application any lack of low bass slam would be mitigated by the fact you have a lot of the bass going through the LFE channel

You have subs.

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post #102 of 107 Old 12-05-2011, 02:30 PM
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post #103 of 107 Old 12-10-2011, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, The time is nigh.

Fury now has a NIB Arcam VR 600, that he is reticent to open, but again, comes before you all as a humble supplicant.

Fury is conflicted as regards the immediate and longer term choice for his application. The Arcam in his possession is sonically acceptable, but lacks RC. to complement then, The Datasat is a fair bit'a'jing and requires, apparently, at least two days of an experienced professional for a quality install.

The Classe 800 has merits, well described above, but has current, construction version questions and is a bit older. A used 800 would suit Fury's purpose for the near term, but, either as a testament to the Classe's desirability or low field numbers, is infrequently available for sale. Then there is the issue of selling the NIB ARcam piece.

The Theta is a religious piece, based on some of the above "discussions" (for that matter a lot of these pieces have zealots espousing them, which is fine) and Fury would like advice for a configuration that would suit the near term need. As we all know, H*** hath no Fury like Fury and his HDMI (H***) and/or HDCP (H***) issues. Fury then may just have to go without running the switching through the processor(s).

The Lex Mp20 seems the long term choice, but Fury has a few questions, please. Could someone, who heard the setup in the "trailer" describe the dimensions of the listening area and the speakers used/installed, please? Were the in ceilings from Revel used in 12.X or some other configuration/speakers. Seems Fury recalls that a poster noted that a 5.1 with that processor sounded the same as 12.1, but Fury could be suffering from per-Holiday confabulation here. Also, how "automatic" or ahem, semi-automatic would the room correction included in that piece likely be? Could an end user, who is not professionally trained in that application be able to implement its function in a reasonable fashion? Fury suspects it is kind a like display calibration, in that the end user can do quite well,to taste, calibrating a display, but a professional can do a better calibration. The difference, Fury suspects, is that there is less a difference in sonic calibration taste than display calibration taste (many do not prefer a professionally or even non professionally calibrated display, for whatever the reason).

Fury thanks all previous participants in this thread and appreciates the passion that the "question" he "asked" engendered, necessitating a "clean up" of certain posts.

Never change!!

Thank you very much

Fury
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post #104 of 107 Old 12-10-2011, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Srgtfury View Post

The Lex Mp20 seems the long term choice, but Fury has a few questions, please. Could someone, who heard the setup in the "trailer" describe the dimensions of the listening area and the speakers used/installed, please?

The demo at CEDIA? That was for QLS only. It used JBL speakers all around.

Quote:


Were the in ceilings from Revel used in 12.X or some other configuration/speakers.

No, they were small boxed JBL speakers hanging from the ceiling. This was a retrofit situation as the truck was not originally set up for this application.

Quote:


Seems Fury recalls that a poster noted that a 5.1 with that processor sounded the same as 12.1, but Fury could be suffering from per-Holiday confabulation here.

No issue with your memory. They showed extraction of five additional "channels." You can get glimpse of the speakers in the pictures in this thread: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...und-Processing. Sorry for the poor image. It was dark in there, no tripod, and I had a lousy position to boot .

Quote:


Also, how "automatic" or ahem, semi-automatic would the room correction included in that piece likely be?

Again, the demo was about QLS, not room EQ. I can comment on the system used currently in JBL Synthesis (ARCOS) which is slated to go into Lexicon MP-20. The process is completely automated. You set up the mics, tell it the speaker types/models, and the system does everything. I have post this picture before but take a look at the left hand column:


Those are the steps performed and it is all automated and in that sequence. You just sit back and watch the machine do its thing.

Quote:


Could an end user, who is not professionally trained in that application be able to implement its function in a reasonable fashion?

Again, my comment is related to the JBL version and the answer is absolutely YES! It really is automated. The reason end users can't do it today with JBL is that it requires an expensive measurement kit with 8 mics and DSP processor. And of course, we can do a bit of hand tuning post calibration if necessary (usually minor tweaks for bass response). You need no knowledge of acoustics, speakers, etc. to perform it.

I expect the system be simpler to use yet for Lexicon. But I have no detail as of yet. Per above though, even if it is the same as JBL Synthesis it is still readily manageable to anyone who knows how to run a program on a computer and hook up microphones and such.

Quote:


Fury suspects it is kind a like display calibration, in that the end user can do quite well,to taste, calibrating a display, but a professional can do a better calibration.

Vast majority of pros have little acoustic knowledge. Sad but true. There is so much folklore and differing opinions that even if some of them wanted to learn, they would have a tough time doing so. Fortunately Harman does extensive research into what makes good sound here and has automated the process per above. The case becomes especially easy if you use any Harman speakers (Revel, JBL) as the system then knows their response and makes sure that it doesn't push the speakers to do what they shouldn't and follow their designed in sound power.

Using Harman speakers with ARCOS also makes sure that you can't blow up your speakers as the system knows what they can do and how far they can be pushed (especially good with JBL speakers which can handle quite a bit of abuse). This can be a real issue with systems that don't know the speakers.

Quote:


The difference, Fury suspects, is that there is less a difference in sonic calibration taste than display calibration taste (many do not prefer a professionally or even non professionally calibrated display, for whatever the reason).

Oh, it is the opposite of what Fury suspects . Video calibration is dead easy compared to this because we know what is "right." We know what the source looked like. With audio, there is no such "truth." If you play a song, how do you know the highs are not 1 db too high or too low? With video, we know that. We may not be able to correct it but we know how far off we are.

Quote:


Fury thanks all previous participants in this thread and appreciates the passion that the "question" he "asked" engendered, necessitating a "clean up" of certain posts.

Never change!!

Thank you very much

Fury

Amir thanks your good questions and attempt to summarize

Amir
Retired Technology Insider
Founder, Madrona Digital
"Insist on Quality Engineering"
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post #105 of 107 Old 12-10-2011, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Srgtfury View Post

Also, how "automatic" or ahem, semi-automatic would the room correction included in that piece likely be? Could an end user, who is not professionally trained in that application be able to implement its function in a reasonable fashion?

Same basic routine as the MC-12: spread 4 mics, push a button, walk away. It automatically performs 3 steps: maximizes consistency of your subwoofers across all seats, conforms the frequency response of your subs and speakers to the target curve, and optimizes the blend between speakers and subs.

BTW, your new third-person affectation is kinda weird. I like your old self better.

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post #106 of 107 Old 12-10-2011, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

...

BTW, your new third-person affectation is kinda weird. I like your old self better.

Watching too much Empire, I guess...Remus.

BTW, any commentary on the Theta temporizing solution? Sure seems that the MP-20, when it shows up SHOULD be a quite good, all in one box solution

Thank you very much

Fury
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post #107 of 107 Old 12-10-2011, 02:20 PM
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Armin,

"even if it is the same as JBL Synthesis it is still readily manageable to anyone who knows how to run a program on a computer and hook up microphones and such."

On the MC-12s room EQ you don't even need the computer. Just plug in the mics and go into the MC-12s setup menu and tell it to go and it does the rest.

Shawn
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