Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor
There are pros and cons to each approach.
No doubt about it the HTPC as pre-pro sounds amazing when you use digital out of the HTPC into a multichannel DAC. I wrote a blog article
on this recently and have it up and running in my showroom in the SF Bay Area which features a HTPC with 16 channel AES out into a couple of DACs feeding a 12 channel Procella Audio system.
HTPC into an ExaSound for upto 8 channels (currently playing with that configuration now) or HTPC into a Trinnov via AES for up to 16 channels will give you some awesome sound quality.
A drawback is the lack of post processing modes such as DTS NeoX and the forthcoming Auro 3D. However you do have Trinnov remapping.
I would also say that you are kind of limited with sources if you go the HTPC route. JRiver, which you would need to use for this approach, is also reasonably complex to setup and optimize. Furthermore working out how to properly calibrate your audio and video is a challenge when using a HTPC and there are all kinds of little things with video especially which can screw things up.
Based on my experiences so far I would only recommend the HTPC as pre-pro for the hard core enthusiast. I am working on locking down a HTPC JRiver 'image' that I can offer up to less hard core enthusiasts as a HTPC/DAC/Setup package but still a ways to go before I launch that.
Not to drag this OT, but were you able to get a multichannel application of Dirac to work in this setup with JRiver?
Audio Gear: Trinnov Altitude 32 (24 channel), NAD M27 amps (3)
Video: JVC RS600, Seymour 100" UF Screen, Lumagen Radiance Pro 4444 (coming soon)
Misc.: Oppo 103, Oppo 203 UHD player, JRiver
Speakers: PSB Imagine T3 LCR, Imagine T Wides and Side Surround 1, T2 Side Surrounds, Imagine XB rears, PSB CS1000 ceilings (6), HSU ULS-15 Mk 2 subs (4) - 11.4.6