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post #181 of 182 Old 05-30-2015, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky
Over a month ago picked up two used Theta Gen VIII Series 3 DACs, so now have three of them for 5.1 channels, and use a DH Labs Silver Sonic analog balanced splitter from the Theta CB4 SSP to my two JL Audio f212 subwoofers. Less than two weeks my new Media Server arrived, a CAPSv4 Pipeline as sold by Small Green Computer with an outboard HDPlex linear power supply. Now I use my prior CAPS3 Zuma (modded with larger case and an added Sapphire/ATI video card for multi-channel audio) only for multi-channel. On two channel, the CAPSv4 Pipeline is even much better than what I had luved with my CAPS3! Appreciably quieter, one can turn up the volume on the CB4 "higher and higher". Drums, bass, everything simply clearly sounds better. Bottom line is the CAPSv4 has appreciably less power consumption and EMI/noise thus that cleaner background and greater dynamics. I played several recent jazz recordings all in hi rez - "Jazz Funk Soul"; "Hacienda" by Jeff Lorber Fusion; and two albums by David Chesky and the New Harmonic Jazz. Oh - also an old but goodie Billy Cobham album and the improvement in dynamics is beyond what I could have expected. Don't get me wrong - the CAPSv3 has been terrific for stereo - but once one hears the CAPS4 Pipeline, one cannot go backwards!
For two channel now I almost always listen with the CB4 in multi-channel DTS Neo6! I have matching top dog speakers (Aerial 7t), monoblock amps (Theta Prometheus),
and DACs (Theta Gen VIII Series 3) at each channel including subwoofer, and I am finding that the "extra" extrapolated speakers only enhance the otherwise two channel presentation without taking away!!@@@
Yesterday and this AM finished recalibrating audio/speaker levels in my sytem. This is pre-Dirac. Will recalibrate with Dirac in near future.

In the past, I had calculated delays for all of my CBIV audio modes based on speaker & subwoofer distance from the front center row (two rows, front row three leather recliners, back row two leather recliners, with the front center recliner and the back left recliner having “me” or whoever is sitting there right in front of the front center Aerial 7t or right in the center of the front & surround left and right Aerial 7ts). But I have found that I like watching DirecTV at center front, but I like listening to music at the back left. And sometimes I like watching blu ray movies from the back left, too. So I thought – why not setup CBIV modes with calibrating “delay” and “level” for the speakers for both the front center and back left (again, only two recliners in back row, and the left is actually in the center of speakers from left to right)? So I did.

In the past, I have preferred using DTS Neo 6 for converting my media server USB 2 channel music (which I have set at 80 Hz 24 dB crossover and I always use my subs for 2 channel and every other music, movie and tv source in my system) into multi-channel. But now, after the above recalibrations, and with my new CAPSv4 Pipeline 2Ch music server being clearly more dynamic than my CAPSv3 modded Zuma music server, I find that there is a loss of dynamics using those modes. But I find that “Special Matrix” is simply wonderful to derive multi-channel from 2 channel music! No loss of dynamics at all. In order to always be able to on the fly compare 2 channel USB vs derived multi-channel using “Special Matrix”, using my Radio Shack analog sound level meter, I listened and raised the 2 channel (plus subwoofer) CBIV source up by 5 dB for each speaker & subwoofer level. Its obvious that I have noticed the loss of dynamics using the Dolby and DTS modes due to (1) now having three Gen VIII DACs for all channels, not just front left and right; (2) new CAPSV4Pipeline music server simply more dynamic than the CAPSv3 modded Zuma music server for stereo; and (3) my setting speaker distance and levels for the left back row (actually center as noted above).

I like to use the start of the blu ray movie “Prometheus” to hear and evaluate bass on my system for movies! WOW! Interesting I found the bass overall not as loud as before. But the bass is deeper, more musical, and so much more REAL! When the spaceship is hovering over the waterfall, I now hear the waterfall like when I visited Niagara Falls some years ago! I’ve always liked the back row for movies, liking the bass I would feel and hear – bass is great in the front row, but even better in the back row. Now that I have made a source setting for the CBIV based on my position at left back row (actually center as discussed above), with the proper speaker delays for that position, I found that the subwoofer speaker level for the back is quite a bit higher than the front, so I lowered the back subwoofer level to about equal the other speakers. And the result in doing this that I can really hear my system in all its glory!

You mean you don't remember me? Back 1999 - 2003, I started and moderated the AVS Tweaks forum and also the AVS Special Guests forum.

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post #182 of 182 Old 05-31-2015, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post
My bet knowing Theta is that the new Extreme D-3 DACs will sound great and appreciably better than the current top line Extreme D-2 DACs. But, the outboard Generation VIII Series 3 DAC is still a different beast, given its size, weight, other electronics, power supply, etc. So I sti/Aurll be on the Gen VIII which is why I have three of them. Nonetheless my bet is that the Gen VIII still sounds better. However, as far as internal DACs to a SSP go, currently the Extreme D-2s are the best out there; and the Extreme D-3s I'm sure will sound appreciably better. As for whether one gets "pretty close", really, that depends on your room and system, acoustic treatments, your use (movies/tv vs audio), and your own subjective listening ability/slills/perception. Theta's announcement of the new Extreme D-3 DACs I think temporarily lowered the used price for a
Gen VIII - but I think that's temporary because folks with real high end systems who are Theta luvers will realize that the Gen VIII gives you the absolute best sound from a SSP period! Of course, I am prejudiced as I have three Gen VIIIs!

Good points and you will probably be right. I suppose though a good % of what makes the Gen VIII so expensive is because it's not simply a DAC but a pre as well but still due to it's separate box solution there is simply more room to implement additional components that make up the DAC network.

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